In September 2016, a house was torn down – it just happened to be a different house than the one that was actually scheduled for demolition. The house that was demolished without permission, was empty and fire damaged, and clearly a candidate for demolition, but had not yet gone through proper regulatory procedure of asbestos removal before it was taken down.
Upon realizing his mistake, the contractor contacted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality immediately. The company has been cited for the violation in response to the asbestos exposure report by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the contractor has been referred for disciplinary review to the city of Detroit.
Asbestos Lung Cancer Risk
The possibility of asbestos exposure in relation to the demolition had the Detroit neighborhood residents seriously concerned for their health. Asbestos is widely considered to be a dangerous substance whose microscopic fibers can accumulate in the lungs and lead to critical health problems, the worst of which is lung cancer.
Lung cancer is a disease that attacks the lining of the lungs and can take years to develop after exposure to asbestos. Once disturbed and airborne, needle-like asbestos filters can be easily inhaled, penetrating lung and surrounding tissue. This can lead to fatal conditions including asbestosis, a scarring and hardening of lung tissue, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, a scarring and malignant tumor of the lung lining.
The microscopic fibers that can accumulate in the lungs can go undetected for decades before they develop into lung cancer. By the time the cancer is discovered, it may already have spread to other organs. Unfortunately, as it is often diagnosed so late in the cancer’s manifestation, survival rate is very low.
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has extensive experience and success in personal injury litigation. Attorneys at the firm are available to answer legal questions for any individuals seeking information for a potential lawsuit.
Asbestos Exposure as an Occupational Hazard
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with countless commercial purposes including electrical or building insulation. Before its identification as a highly dangerous substance, it was used frequently in construction.
Asbestos lawsuits are typically filed by workers who have been exposed to asbestos in their line of work. For some workers, continuous exposure to asbestos led to their diagnosis of cancer, while for others, there may only have been a single instance of exposure for the damage to be done. Asbestos was commonly used in construction because of its insulating and fire protection properties. Ceiling and floor tiles, pipe wraps, and spray insulation were common products that used asbestos.
Since lung cancer is so frequently diagnosed years after initial exposure, the disease has typically progressed to its later and more dangerous stages before it is realized by those who are affected.
Companies that allow their workers to be exposed to asbestos should be aware of the dangerous nature of their asbestos-containing materials and should also be aware of its ability to cause serious disease and fatalities.
What to Know about Asbestos in the Home
A highly-effective and inexpensive fire-retardant material and thermal and acoustic insulator, asbestos was used extensively in home construction from the early 1940s through the 1970s. It is now widely known that prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to serious lung disease. In homes built prior to 1975, asbestos was most commonly found as thermal insulation on basement boilers and pipes.
Asbestos can also be found in an array of other household materials including: blown-in attic insulation, vinyl floor tiles, glue that attaches floor tiles to concrete or wood, some forms of linoleum, window caulking and glazing, roofing material (usually on flat roofs, occasionally on shingles), duct insulation, siding material, plaster, and fiber cement siding, according to the This Old House website.
Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers but disturbing it may create a health hazard where none existed before. The danger comes from asbestos material that has been damaged over time. Asbestos that crumbles easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is likely to release asbestos fibers and create a health hazard.
Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides detailed guidance about how to collect samples that may contain asbestos, the American Lung Association recommends that you hire a certified asbestos professional to take any samples to assess the situation. Hiring a professional can minimize asbestos exposure for you and your family.
Legal Advice and Information RegardingAsbestos Exposure
If you or someone you know suffered illness due to asbestos exposure, you may be eligible for valuable compensation. Parker Waichman LLP offers free, no obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact our personal injury attorneys at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).