How to Get Tested for Asbestos Poisoning?

By James Parker
September 11, 2022

Asbestos is a family of silicon minerals that fall into the category of either amphibole or serpentine asbestos. Amphibole asbestos minerals are defined by their needle-like formations, while serpentine minerals form in curling swirls. While these minerals have been utilized historically for their heat-resistant, anti-corrosive, or high tensile properties, they have also been found to be carcinogenic.

Asbestos exposure happens whenever material containing the mineral is moved, disturbed, or broken. The damaged material releases asbestos particles into the air. These particles can be microscopic in size and hang in the air long after the material has been disturbed.

Once the asbestos is in the air, it can easily be ingested, inhaled, or otherwise enter the body. Asbestos that enters the body will remain in the person’s body since there is no natural method of expelling asbestos, particularly in body regions like the lungs.

Signs and Symptoms of Asbestos Poisoning

Signs of asbestos exposure can be difficult to identify. Sometimes it may be obvious how asbestos exposure occurred, such as when a worker is employed in asbestos mining, automobile manufacturing, or shipbuilding. Other times, it can be challenging to recognize, such as when a resident is exposed to white asbestos in their insulation, popcorn ceiling, or ductwork. When these residential features are disturbed, asbestos is launched into the residency, where residents then ingest it.

When asbestos is ingested, it settles in the body. For example, it can settle in the lungs, or it can settle in the abdomen. When the asbestos particles embed themselves in the body, the sharp mineral particles irritate or damage the surrounding tissue. 

This can manifest in medical symptoms occurring in people exposed to asbestos. Some examples of symptoms of asbestos exposure include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry coughing
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Weight loss

The main issue with these symptoms is that they can occur after an extended latency period. The latency period of asbestos exposure can be decades. This means that it can be difficult to recognize the symptoms occurring as a consequence of asbestos exposure.

Potential Conditions Arising From Asbestos Poisoning

When asbestos has entered the body and damaged tissue in the abdomen or lungs, several adverse health conditions can develop. These conditions can cause consequences that range from discomfort to death.

When asbestos settles in the abdomen, the most common health consequence is peritoneal mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer that develops in the mesothelium of the abdomen. The mesothelium surrounds a number of vital organs, including the heart, the abdomen, and the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma is one of the two most common varieties of mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that is often fatal.

Meanwhile, when asbestos settles in the lungs, one of the most common locations due to the way that asbestos is inhaled, it can cause several serious health complications. These health complications arise due to the irritation and damage that asbestos causes in the lungs.

Some of the less harmful effects of asbestos in the lungs are asbestos pleural diseases and asbestosis. Pleural diseases are conditions such as thickening, plaques, and effusions. These conditions can fill lungs with fluid, thicken lungs, or otherwise damage the lungs to make breathing difficult. This may not be fatal, but these conditions can still result in lifelong, chronic issues.

Asbestosis is a form of fibrosis that occurs from repeated damage and scarring of the lungs. Asbestosis is not fatal but is chronically harmful and causes permanent disability. In the case of either asbestos pleural diseases or asbestosis, there is no cure, but there are methods of management that can minimize the harmful impacts of these conditions.

By contrast, the final and most devastating consequence of asbestos in the lungs is pleural mesothelioma, which is universally fatal. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common variety of mesothelioma that occurs in the mesothelial lining of the lungs. This condition can take over a decade to begin presenting but can quickly spread through the body. 

Getting Tested for Asbestos Poisoning

If an individual suspects that they may be exposed to asbestos, there are some ways that they can test for asbestos. There are two main types of asbestos testing: personal testing and environmental testing.

Personal testing is a series of screening tests that can be used to identify symptoms of asbestos contamination. For example, pulmonologists can examine a patient's lungs to look for signs of scarring or irritation in the lungs that could be caused by asbestos. Similarly, if the patient has other lung conditions associated with asbestos exposure, a pulmonologist can use testing methods such as aspiration to confirm the presence of asbestos.

Environmental testing is usually performed by an asbestos abatement company. These companies specialize in testing for the presence of asbestos and, if hired, work to remove and dispose of asbestos from residences or commercial buildings in a safe and regulated way. The abatement company may charge for testing, or the test may be part of a consultation. In either event, once testing has concluded, the company will return to the client with information about the test and potential options for abatement.

What to do With a Positive Asbestos Confirmation

Once a positive asbestos test has been confirmed, any areas containing asbestos should be quarantined and abated. However, if you have developed an asbestos-related disease, there are more steps that will need to be taken.

First, you will need to find several specialists to help you manage your symptoms, combat the advancement of your conditions, and help extend your prognosis. These processes are stressful, potentially dangerous, and costly. However, there is something that you can do about that. 

If the asbestos exposure occurred in a residence, then the residents may be able to file a lawsuit against their landlord or property management company. If the asbestos exposure occurred in a professional or industrial setting due to inadequate protection, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the company for failing to protect you.

The bottom line is that if you have been exposed to asbestos and have subsequently developed asbestos-related health conditions, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to cover your medical and potential damages. In order to successfully file and prevail in your lawsuit, you will need the help of a Personal Injury attorney.

An experienced Personal Injury attorney can utilize legal expertise, trial tactics, and expert witnesses to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. The best place to find a Personal Injury attorney is with Attorney at Law.

At AAL, our nationwide network of attorneys can connect you with the best Personal Injury attorney in your area. Not only can AAL find you the Personal Injury attorney to help you achieve justice, but we can do so without costing you anything. AAL’s Personal Injury partners work on contingency. That means you pay nothing upfront and, if you don’t win, you never pay anything. 

Don’t wait. Contact AAL today for a complimentary consultation and begin your journey to justice.

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