Asbestos was used in construction and manufacturing from 1940 to 1978 and it is estimated that between 2 to 10% of people who were exposed to it will develop mesothelioma. Nationally, it’s estimated that up to 11 million people were exposed to the naturally occurring mineral fibers which were used primarily in insulation products.
“Mesothelioma doesn’t follow a set period of latency. For some people, it can develop in 20 years. In others, it can take 50. For this reason it is imperative for anyone who believes they have been exposed to asbestos to monitor their health closely,” remarked Chicago workers’ compensation attorney Neal B. Strom.
Symptoms of mesothelioma include abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, chest pains, progressively worsening cough, difficulty breathing, and constant fatigue. These symptoms develop slowly and can be accompanied by night sweats, vomiting, and weight loss.
Thousands of people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. Many of these are the result of occupational exposure. In Illinois, the Workers’ Compensation Act allows individuals to file workers’ compensation claims no later than 25 years from the last date of exposure. This means that many people who were exposed to asbestos and just now developing mesothelioma won’t be able to seek workers’ compensation.
“Because mesothelioma often develops after the time-limit for workers’ compensation claims has expired, many patients must rely upon litigation for help covering related medical care. However, patients should not delay diagnosis and treatment while waiting for a lawsuit to conclude. Research shows that early treatment is essential as survival rates decline rapidly the longer the disease is left untreated,” warned Chicago workers’ compensation attorney Neal B. Strom.
From 1999 to 2013, 37,000 Americans died from mesothelioma. Illinois ranks 6th in the nation for mesothelioma deaths. That is why it is imperative for veterans and those who worked in construction, manufacturing, and environmental remediation to closely monitor their health and seek treatment as soon as they suspect they are developing mesothelioma symptoms.