Due in large part to ongoing efforts across the United States to eliminate the use of and exposure to asbestos – the leading cause of a deadly type of cancer called mesothelioma – the number of people diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma continues to decline. At the same time, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people filing mesothelioma lawsuits seeking compensation for the pain and losses they have suffered as a result of their or a loved one’s exposure to asbestos. If you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma caused by toxic asbestos exposure, contact us today to find out how we can help. You may be eligible to file a claim against the company responsible for your asbestos exposure in order to pursue the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.
According to a recent report published by Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm KCIC, the number of personal injury lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma in the U.S. increased 65.7% during the ten-year period between 2007 and 2017, the last year for which data was available. Based on an analysis of data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Result (SEER) database compiled by the National Institute of Health, the overall incidence rate of mesothelioma cancer decreased 16.2% during the same period. “The data we collected shows a positive trend in the propensity to sue [or the likelihood of a person to file a lawsuit] over time, meaning as time goes on, the percentage of the diseased population filing a lawsuit is increasing,” wrote study author Megan Shockley. Lawsuit filings for mesothelioma reached an all-time high in 2017, with 2,124 legal claims, up from 1,336 claims in 2007.
A mineral fiber found naturally in rock and soil, asbestos is an excellent electrical insulator and is naturally resistant to heat and chemicals, which made it a popular additive for many products in building and construction. Before its use was restricted in the 1970s to early 1980s, asbestos could be found in thousands of commercial and industrial products in the United States, from paper products and packing materials to attic and wall insulation, brake pads and shoes, vinyl floor tiles and heat-resistant fabrics. Over time, as the risk of asbestos-related cancer became widely recognized, measures were taken to reduce exposure to asbestos and the mineral is now banned in more than 50 countries.
Despite the health risks associated with asbestos exposure, asbestos is still not fully banned in the United States, and there are hundreds of consumer products that are still permitted to contain small amounts of the carcinogen. Many older buildings that have not been rebuilt or renovated also contain asbestos and the most common route of exposure to asbestos is inhalation, typically among construction workers or other workers exposed to asbestos on the job, though consumers can also be harmed by asbestos exposure occurring through the use of products that may be contaminated with the carcinogen, like Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based baby powder products.
When asbestos dust or fibers are released into the air, either during product use, repair work, remodeling or demolition, they can be inhaled and become trapped in the lungs, where they can cause inflammation and scarring, eventually leading to changes that result in uncontrolled cell growth and cancer. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that typically occurs in the thin layer of tissue that lines the lungs and abdomen. The latency period between exposure to asbestos and the appearance of mesothelioma symptoms is 30 to 40 years, which means many people exposed to asbestos decades ago are just now being diagnosed with the deadly disease.
It is apparent that mesothelioma lawsuits are on the rise in the United States, and experts expect this trend to hold steady as people become more aware of both the dangers of asbestos exposure and their legal options when diagnosed with mesothelioma. The targets of these mesothelioma lawsuits are the companies that manufactured asbestos-containing products and knowingly and/or negligently exposed people to those products. Among those products is Johnson & Johnson’s widely used talc-based baby powder, which was discontinued earlier this year due to concerns that the talc used in the baby powder could be contaminated with carcinogenic asbestos. The company currently faces nearly 20,000 claims by consumers who allege that Johnson’s baby powder caused them to develop mesothelioma, ovarian cancer or other types of cancer. To learn more about the growing mesothelioma litigation in the U.S., or to find out whether you are eligible to file a claim for compensation, contact us at Consumer Safety Watch today.