What is Asbestos?

If you're wondering what is asbestos because you've been exposed, you may be eligible for compensation. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber once used in various products, including roofing, automobile brake pads, ceiling tiles, and gaskets. The threads inside these minerals are resistant to heat and chemicals, explaining their wide use as building materials.

Today, the term refers to any naturally occurring mineral containing the fibrous silicate, popularly known as asbestos-containing mineral (ACM). The most common types are amphibole, amosite, and chrysotile, which all have different properties and uses.

All mineral forms fall into friable, easily crumbled, and fibrous or long, thin fibers. Both types can cause cancer and other health problems if inhaled or ingested by humans or other mammals. Due to their adverse health effects, their mining never happens in the United States. However, importing some materials from other nations, such as Russia, still occurs.

You may be eligible for compensation if you're one of the millions of people with mesothelioma. Contact our office today to learn if you are and start immediately. You can also learn more about the mesothelioma claims process here.

Types of Asbestos

What is Asbestos?

Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos comprises six minerals, each of which can be classified as amphibole or serpentine. The amphibole classification is the shape of a needle, while the serpentine occurs in crystal-like sheet layers. The six types of asbestos are detailed below.


Chrysotile is the only type of serpentine and has a distinct white color. This type of asbestos is easy to identify and distinguish from its cousins, as it is more flexible and easier to break apart. It was frequently used in commercial settings and processing, and as a result, the most common type to cause mesothelioma.

Chrysotile has a variety of uses in products, including:

  • Ceiling tiles
  • Wrap around cement sheeting
  • Fiberglass insulation sheets and blankets
  • Roofing felt
  • Bathroom and kitchen countertops
  • Drywall and ceiling insulation
  • Shower curtain liner
  • Vinyl sheeting
  • Plastics and
  • Rubber


Amosite is the second most popular type of material after chrysotile. This type of asbestos is a thin, brown fiber highly resistant to heat. For this reason, it is commonly used in insulation materials. Some products made with amosite include:

  • Thermal insulation
  • Chemical insulation
  • Electrical insulation
  • Cement sheets
  • Gaskets
  • Fireproof products
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Pipe fittings


Crocidolite asbestos is tiny fibers that are bluish. These fibers can easily break down and crumble, which makes asbestos exposure in humans more likely. It was not frequently mined for products due to its poor heat resistance, but some materials were produced with crocidolite fibers. Products like the following may have been manufactured with the dangerous mineral:

  • Steam engine insulation
  • Spray coatings
  • Pipe insulation
  • Plastics
  • Cement products
  • Roof and floor tiles


Actinolite is the darkest and rarest type of asbestos, with long sharp fibers. It can occur in dense, compact form or as brittle fibers. This asbestos may contain other materials such as magnesium, silicon, and calcium. The material expands exponentially, making it ideal for insulation. The common uses include:

  • Structural fireproofing
  • Cement products
  • Sealants
  • Drywall
  • Paints


Anthophyllite assumes assorted colors such as white, yellow, grey, or soft green fibers. This asbestos has tiny needle-like fibers and is a common contaminant of chrysotile and talc. The mineral often contains iron and magnesium and is exceedingly rare. Anthophyllite was often used as a material in cement and insulation.


Tremolite can take assorted colors, including white, gray, transparent, or dark green. It is a common pollutant for vermiculite, talc, and chrysotile. It is common in places that once had volcanic activity and combines metamorphosized magnesium, iron, and calcium ions. Tremolite is a leading cause of asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Asbestos exposure is dangerous and has dire health consequences, including cancer, pleural plaques, and other conditions. Studies indicate that serpentine is less hazardous than amphibole. Nonetheless, because of its wide commercial use, chrysotile is the leading cause of death by naturally occurring materials. No amount of asbestos exposure is safe for humans, no matter the duration.

How Does Asbestos Cause Cancer?

You may be eligible for compensation if you're one of the millions of people with mesothelioma. Contact our office today to learn if you are and start immediately. You can also learn more about the mesothelioma claims process here.

Exposure to the fibers happens primarily through inhalation or ingestion. Once in the body, the tissues stick around vital organs such as the lungs and the abdomen.
Unfortunately, the body has no mechanism for breaking down the toxins, which begin to cause irritations and inflammations in the attached areas. Consequently, the cells rupture, and there is an alteration in the genetic composition of cells causing abnormal production and growth of cancer cells. Cancers caused by asbestos exposure include:

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is commonly associated with cigarette smoking and environmental exposure to smoke but can also be caused by exposure to asbestos. Lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure occurs when asbestos fibers block the air pathways in the lungs. Symptoms may not develop until 15-35 years after exposure. Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing blood
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest pains
  • Recurring respiratory infections


One of the leading causes of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. It most commonly occurs in the lining of the chest and abdomen, known as the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the thin layer of tissue that forms the outermost layer of the body's internal organs, including the lungs, heart, and abdominal lining. The type of mesothelioma depends on the affected area. For example, the heart, testes, lung, and abdomen infections are pericardial, testicular, pleural, and peritoneal mesothelioma. Mesothelioma has an extended latency period, typically 10-50 years before cancer may develop. Unfortunately, the symptoms often resemble other conditions leading to late detection. Consequently, patients miss out on treatment options, further complicating the disease. Symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Fever and sweat nights
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest or abdominal pains
  • Weight loss
  • Dry cough

Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer affects the organ that acts as a passageway of air to the lungs. Exposure to harmful substances causes inflammation to the mucosal surface, which can lead to the development of cancerous cells. Symptoms include:

  • Pain or discomfort when swallowing
  • Breathing challenges
  • Hoarse breathing
  • Lump on the throat
  • Ear pains
  • Coughing blood (hemoptysis)

Ovarian Cancer

Many women who have worked in settings with high asbestos exposure develop ovarian cancer. Cancer affects the ovaries because the asbestos fibers can travel to sensitive organs. Symptoms include:

  • Discomforts around the pelvic area
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Back pains

People at High Risk of Mesothelioma

You may be eligible for compensation if you're one of the millions of people with mesothelioma. Contact our office today to learn if you are and start immediately. You can also learn more about the mesothelioma claims process here.

Everyone is at risk of developing mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness after prolonged exposure, regardless of age. However, statistics show the older generation has more significant numbers of cases. The risk of exposure is highest for persons who work in industrial settings. Secondhand exposure is another possible concern and cause for developing mesothelioma. Family members who interact with loved ones working in high-exposure environments often come into contact with asbestos fibers on their work clothes or vehicles.

The last category of people at high risk for asbestos exposure is veterans because of the use of asbestos-containing materials in the construction of ships and military bases.

Here is a list of the most common occupations that cause asbestos exposure:

Testing and Diagnosis of Mesothelioma

Like every other type of cancer, screening is essential in the early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis of mesothelioma. Physicians conduct blood tests, and strains of fibulin-3 and soluble mesothelin peptides indicate signs of cancer. A biopsy is done for a final diagnosis of mesothelioma for patients showing signs of the disease.

Medical History and Physical Examination

When you step into a healthcare facility, the nurse will inquire about your medical history. Information about previous exposure to the mineral is critical for further testing. A physical examination based on the symptoms will help to rule out other health conditions.

Blood Test

A blood test will help your physician detect disease biomarkers.


Imaging tests help detect, and monitor the extent of cancer spread, determine treatment and check the response to treatment. The scans use radiation, electromagnetic fields, and soundwaves to create pictures inside the human body.

The standard image scans for mesothelioma are:

  • X-ray - helps to rule out other conditions and identify the problem.
  • Computed tomography (CT) - Assist in diagnosis by differentiating abnormalities from normal tissues and organs.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - Helps in staging the spread of cancer.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) helps show the extent of cancer spread.
  • Echocardiogram - shows the condition of the heart and any fluid buildup around the heart.
  • Ultrasound - Helps highlight tumors where x-rays are not clear.
  • Biopsy - the practice entails the removal of fluid buildup for further analysis under a microscope. There are two main types of biopsies:
  • Needle biopsy - The doctor uses a long hollow needle to collect a sample through the skin to the affected area.
  • Surgery is an invasive method requiring an incision to reach hard places by other techniques. The various surgeries are peritoneoscopy, thoracoscopy, open biopsy, and thoracotomy.

Stages of Mesothelioma

You may be eligible for compensation if you're one of the millions of people with mesothelioma. Contact our office today to learn if you are and start immediately. You can also learn more about the mesothelioma claims process here.

During diagnosis, doctors usually use stages to determine the intensity of cancer. It enables them to determine life expectancy and know what treatment options to use. Mesothelioma has four main steps.

Stage 1

This stage of mesothelioma is the initial phase of the disease. It is further classified as stage 1A or stage 1B. Mesothelioma is typically located in only one body part in this stage. Patients rarely feel any symptoms. Patients diagnosed at this stage usually exhibit symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, fever, and persistent cough.

Stage 2

This stage of mesothelioma is more noticeable. It could result from the cancer cells spreading to nearby organs. The symptoms in stage 1 become more prominent, and an individual experiences significant weight loss. During this stage, medical practitioners may use several medical solutions to prevent or delay cancer spreading. Such could be surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.

Stage 3

As tumors enlarge, cancer cells spread, making the symptoms more prominent. The immune system becomes weak, and the body cannot absorb valuable nutrients. A medical practitioner will have to conduct an X-ray to establish this stage of mesothelioma. In this stage, the tumors will have spread into the lining of the lungs, its cartilages, muscles, and surrounding organs. Due to an acute shortage of breath in most cases, draining the fluid in the lungs is the first assistance. This process eases breathing.

Stage 4

Mesothelioma that has spread throughout the body usually requires more than one type of therapy to be cured. Doctors use surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to destroy any cancerous cells left after the other treatments. In more advanced cases, immunotherapy can assist in medication.

Treatment of Mesothelioma

You may be eligible for compensation if you're one of the millions of people with mesothelioma. Contact our office today to learn if you are and start immediately. You can also learn more about the mesothelioma claims process here.

There is no cure for mesothelioma, but modern treatments can improve the quality of life for people diagnosed with the disease. The goal of treatment for mesothelioma is to arrest cancer as quickly as possible and minimize the symptoms and the risk of recurrence. The type and intensity of treatment depend on the cancer's size and characteristics, the patient's age and general health, and the preferences of the patient's medical team. The best way to be safe is to exercise preventive caution from mesothelioma causes.

Treatment for mesothelioma is typically well-tolerated, with most minor and temporary side effects. The primary treatments for mesothelioma are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. However, in many cases, the doctors may combine the treatments based on the characteristics of cancer.


The type of surgery performed on mesothelioma patients depends on the size and location of the tumor and the patient's general health. The primary goal of surgery is to remove cancer from the affected organs. If cancer has spread beyond the organs initially influenced by the tumor, the physician can remove the entire tumor or potentially the organ.


Chemotherapy is the use of one or more drugs to kill cancer cells or to stop their growth. Patients can take the medication by mouth, injection, or through a tube placed in a vein. The drugs used in chemotherapy are designed to kill cancer cells but can potentially harm normal cells (toxicity) and may cause serious side effects. Chemotherapy may be given with or without other treatments, depending on the results of the tests and examinations. Physicians administer chemotherapy in one large or several smaller doses throughout the day.


Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays or beams to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The patient's tolerance to treatment, type, and cancer stage determines the amount and schedule of radiation therapy. It can be used alone or in combination with other medicines.
Radiation therapy is most often used to treat early-stage cancer, where the cancer cells are the easiest to access. However, radiation therapy may also treat advanced-stage cancer spread throughout the body if the clinical benefits outweigh the risks.


Immunotherapy uses medications and other treatments to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. Some immunotherapies work by training the immune system to recognize and attack specific proteins or cells associated with cancer. Other immunotherapies fool the immune system into thinking it is under attack. Immunotherapy is sometimes used in the later stages of cancer when the disease is no longer responsive to other therapies.

After Treatment

The treatment of mesothelioma has been a topic of active research for many years. It is effective but has some undesirable side effects. In the early part of the last century, mesothelioma treatment was made comparatively mild to lower the morbidity and mortality resulting from the disease. Several chemotherapeutic agents were developed and used, making it possible to reduce morbidity and mortality. However, caregivers and survivors have a role in ensuring that the patient leads a healthy and everyday life.

Attending Clinics

When you come to the end of your treatment, it is crucial to have doctors check your health status from time to time. There are possibilities of side effects due to the intense medication process. There is also a probability of cancer recurring. They will need to monitor your progress and note the improvements at times. As such, you must keep to the follow-up appointments.

Find Emotional Support

Cancer can drain your finances and completely change the course of life. It is a common phenomenon to go through emotional and psychological distress. Getting support from friends, family and peer groups, or religious groups is always advisable. Such support gives one hope and the strength to face a new day.

Other Effects of Exposure

Asbestos exposure can cause other non-cancer diseases, including asbestosis and pleural diseases. Asbestosis is caused by breathing in asbestos fibers leading to the scarring of the lungs. It makes living much more difficult since the scarred lungs do not allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass in and out quickly. The pleural disease causes the membrane surrounding the lungs to become thicker. It may also lead to a buildup of fluid around the lungs.

You may be eligible for compensation if you're one of the millions of people with mesothelioma. Contact our office today to learn if you are and start immediately. You can also learn more about the mesothelioma claims process here.

Do You Have A Claim?

If you've been hurt by negligent company, product, or service, report it here.
Our expert partner attorneys offer free consultations for your claim.

Copyright © 2024 Classaction.101.com
Privacy - Terms Conditions