The removal of asbestos, or asbestos abatement as it is also called, is a hazardous job. Even though workers are required to undergo extensive training, and are provided with full body protective clothing and respirators, the risk of asbestos exposure is still high.
According to a recent news report from ABC 7, rescue crews had to come to the aid of two workers at an asbestos abatement project in Long Island. Witnesses say that 19 workers were in a building to remove asbestos from an old county building that is undergoing renovations.
The accident occurred when a large section of concrete containing metal wire on the ceiling of the building caved in and landed on two of the workers. These workers were covered in dust and debris that was likely to contain asbestos dust. First responders had to dig the workers out of the debris so that they could be rescued.
Immediately after the collapse, and while the two men were still trapped, supervisors told the other workers to leave the building immediately and proceed to decontamination showers that had been installed at the jobsite in the event of an incident such as this. Those workers were not sure if they should be worried about asbestos exposure. The workers who were freed from the debris underwent a decontamination process on the scene and were taken to a local hospital.
As our Boston asbestos lawsuit attorneys can explain, it is very difficult to answer the question of whether the workers should be worried. The real question they want to know is if they were exposed to deadly asbestos fibers. The problem is that there is no way to tell. The fibers are microscopic and cannot be detected on tissue that is still alive and in the human body.
Once inhaled, these fibers can become trapped in a layer of tissue doctors refer to as the mesothelium, where they remain for rest of the patient’s life. After a period that is typically between 20 and 50 years, the fibers can cause a deadly form of cancer that affects the lungs and other organs, known as mesothelioma. The fibers can also cause lung cancer and other serious medical conditions. There is no way for doctors or the human body itself to remove these fibers. That is why it is so difficult to answer the question of whether the workers should be worried.
Once a patient develops mesothelioma symptoms, such as a dry cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, and other respiratory conditions and goes to a doctor, the patient may only have a very short time left to live. There is no cure for mesothelioma, though there are some experimental therapies that may extend a patient’s life and ease some of the pain and discomfort, such as the radical removal of a large portion of lung tissue followed by a localized internal chemotherapy treatment. However, these treatments are still in the experimental phase and undergoing initial human trials in specialized hospitals and are not widely available.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
CEILING COLLAPSE TRAPS CONSTRUCTION WORKERS IN MINEOLA, October 17, 2014, ABC News
More Blog Entries:
Mesothelioma Lawsuits for Shipyard Workers, July 30, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog