Asbestos diseases range in severity from asbestosis to lung cancer, which is exacerbated when there is asbestos exposure and smoking, to mesothelioma. According to a study commissioned by the American Insurance Association, analysts believe that the number of people afflicted with asbestos diseases will rise over the next decade because asbestos use peaked in the 1970′s and the latency period for disease after asbestos exposure ranges from 15-40 years.
According to Dr. Michael R. Harbut, co-director, National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers:
The diseases range from scarring of the lungs and lung cancer, to a particularly horrific form of cancer, mesothelioma. The significant thing is the latency period is 15-40 years, so we began climbing a plateau in 1993 and it will continue to 2018. There are 10,000 deaths a year and that number will climb.
Dr. Harbut went on to estimate there are at least 300,000 to 400,000 homes with some form of asbestos, which reached its peak use in 1978
According to Dr. George Riegel, a former medical doctor now an advocate in the environmental inspection and remediation business:
It’s in thousands, if not millions, of homes; it’s in most homes built before 1978, in asbestos floor tiles, steam pipe insulation, the old gravity furnace octopus ducts and vermiculite in attic insulation.
That means retrieving items stored in old attics exposes homeowners to asbestos.
An estimated 1.3 million people in the construction industry are still exposed to asbestos, including drywall hangers, pipe fitters, carpenters, and workers involved with building demotion and remodeling. Asbestos is still very much an issue in homes, offices, hospitals, underground infrastructure, sewers, and tunnels; so many things were built with asbestos before its use was curtailed in the late 1970′s.
At issue in most asbestos lawsuits is that the manufacturers knew about the dangers of asbestos but continued to manufacturer products and failed to warn and educate people working around asbestos of the danger.