Dangerous Products

Warning Signs of Asbestos Exposure

Those who are exposed to asbestos fibers in the course of their life are at risk of developing Asbestosis, a chronic lung disease initiated by inhaling asbestos fibers. Depending on the length of time exposed, as well as the number of fibers ingested, symptoms can range from mild to severe. These symptoms typically appear in individuals anywhere from 10 to 40 years after the initial exposure, according to data from the Mayo Clinic. As the symptoms are usually tied to other lung oriented diseases, quick recognition is critical. Below are some key warning signs to look out for.

Shortness of Breath

construction worker checking location site

When asbestos exposure goes unchecked, the ingested fibers can cause scar tissue to form in the lungs over time. Shortness of breath can be the first indicator that something is amiss. When scar tissue forms in the lungs, breathing becomes more difficult until the lungs cannot expand and contract normally.

Fatigue

After shortness of breath comes general fatigue. Fatigue is typically classified as extreme tiredness or a feeling of being tired beyond that which is typical for a given person. If a person can’t seem to summon the same energy they once had, consider whether exposure is possible. When paired with the next symptom, fatigue can also be an indicator that an asbestos-related illness is forming.

Swollen Fingertips

A telltale symptom of asbestos ingestion, swollen fingertips occur in at least half of all reported asbestos exposure cases. This phenomenon is also known as clubbing, as the fingertips become broader and rounded.

Wheezing and Dry Cough

Wheezing is denoted by a whistling sound when breathing, especially when taking deep breaths. For non-smokers, this can be an important indicator of asbestos exposure. As scar tissue continues to form over time, a prolonged, persistent cough can also be a strong clue. Dry coughs can form as long as 40 years after the fact, so it is important to consult a physician at the first sign of an abnormal cough.

At D’Amico Law Offices, LLC, we understand the pain and trauma involved with asbestos exposure. By handling each case with a personal touch, we hope to foster a trusting relationship with our clients. If you live in the Pittsburg area and have worked in an industry where asbestos exposure is common and have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact our team of legal professionals today by calling (412) 906-8180 for a free consultation about your case.

The Symptoms and Risks of Hip Replacement Device Failure

Hip replacements often last for 25 years or longer, but complications can affect their longevity. A failed hip replacement device can quickly become detrimental to the user’s health and comfort. Here are a few of the warning signs and risks of a hip replacement device failure.

Signs of a Defective or Failing Hip Replacement Device

x ray of a hip replacement

Metal hip replacement devices, especially metal-on-metal implants, can fail for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s due to a defect in the medical device itself. At other times, failure can be attributed to how the user moves or bears weight on a daily basis. One of the most common signs that a hip replacement device has failed is pain and/or swelling in the hips, legs, lower back, or groin. Other symptoms include difficulty standing or walking, decreases in flexibility, limping or unusual movements while walking, and creaking or squeaking sounds coming from the hip area.

Unique Risks for Women

Because women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, they are also more likely to receive hip replacements. Women tend to have wider hips and larger hip sockets, which can increase their chances of experiencing hip replacement failure. Women who have had a hip replacement, especially those who have also experienced bone weakness or mobility issues, should regularly consult with their doctor to ensure that their prosthetic is working as intended.

Additional Risk Factors

Other hip replacement recipients may have an increased risk for device failure and complications. These include people who are especially physically active, such as athletes or patients with jobs that require manual labor. Being overweight or obese can place excess stress on the hips and thighs, which can cause a hip replacement device to fail prematurely.

Hip replacement devices can have issues for a number of reasons. If you suspect that your hip replacement failure was the result of a defective medical device or medical malpractice, the attorneys at D’Amico Law Offices, LLC can help. To schedule a consultation at our office in Pittsburgh, call 412-906-8180.

Are You at Risk for Benzene Exposure?

Benzene is a colorless flammable liquid used in manufacturing processes and created by fires, cigarette smoke, and other forms of combustion. Exposure to this substance can cause health problems in humans, including certain types of cancer. Benzene is categorized as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent, by the Environmental Protection Agency. While all individuals are exposed to low levels of environmental benzene, certain people may come in contact with dangerous levels. Understanding the risk factors for benzene exposure can allow individuals to decrease or eliminate those risks.

Occupational Exposure

Large grassy field with machinery off to the side

Those who work in industries that rely on benzene are at the highest risk for exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Example industries include but are not limited to benzene production, industrial steel, medical and chemical laboratories, gas stations, printing, and rubber tire manufacture. The CDC estimates that at least 238,000 Americans fall into this risk category. This risk is especially prevalent among older Americans who worked in these industries before stricter regulations for workplace exposure were introduced in recent decades.

Urban Exposure

Individuals who reside in urban and heavily developed industrial areas are more susceptible to benzene exposure than those who live in rural or suburban settings. The presence of nearby gas stations, highways with heavy traffic, petroleum refineries, petrochemical plants, and hazardous waste sites also increases risk. Because the amount of benzene in gasoline has been limited by federal and state regulations in the 1980s and beyond, these risks are higher for older adults.

Smoking

The CDC notes that those who smoke cigarettes have about 10 times the daily benzene intake of nonsmokers. The agency estimates that about half of U.S. benzene exposure can be attributed to cigarette smoke.

Chemical Exposure

Using chemical products containing benzene in an enclosed space or unventilated area could raise the risk for benzene-related health problems. Examples include certain art supplies, solvents, glues, paints, and other fume-releasing substances.

Individuals who develop health problems after occupational benzene exposure could be eligible for legal damages. According to the American Cancer Society, this substance is linked to the development of leukemia and other blood disorders. Contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC for a consultation in the Pittsburgh area with our experienced attorneys.

A Brief History of Asbestos

Many Americans know asbestos as a toxic substance that can cause life-threatening illnesses. However, it once was considered an efficient and safe material for construction projects. Here’s a brief history of the material.

The Discovery of Asbestos

Close up of a woman wearing a surgical mask

Although asbestos was used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and even craftsmen in the Stone Age, it wasn’t until 1858 that asbestos was commonly used in the United States. It became common when The Johns Company began mining it for use in the United States and Canada during the Industrial Revolution. Because asbestos is resistant to chemicals, heat, water, and electricity, it was commonly used as an insulator during many industrial processes. However, it soon became apparent that asbestos was causing widespread health concerns.

Rising Health Concerns

In 1918, the U.S. government recognized the health risk after reports of early death in asbestos workers became common. In 1930, a doctor named E.R.A. Merewether conducted a clinical examination of hundreds of asbestos workers, finding that one in four was afflicted by a condition called asbestosis. He also concluded that not only workers but also those exposed to asbestos products may be at risk, as there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure.

Connection with Cancer

Many asbestos workers began developing lung cancer as the years went on. In 1949, Dr. Wilhelm Heuper, a physician and contributor to the National Cancer Institute, warned the general population of the connection between asbestos and cancer risk. This was after the first report of a mesothelioma-like tumor in 1943. Mesothelioma, a condition characterized by a tumor that can either be malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous), was linked to asbestos in studies conducted between the 1950s and ’60s. However, the asbestos industry continued to sell and install asbestos without warning workers well into the 1960s.

Seeking Compensation

After the tragedy of long-term exposure to a toxic material, those affected by the asbestos industry soon began receiving compensation. In 1967, a UK citizen was the first to file a successful personal injury claim due to mesothelioma, which was upheld by an appeals court in 1971. In the same year, a federal court issued a verdict of $68,000 for victims which was also upheld by an appeals court. Currently, nearly 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year, according to the CDC. Many of these victims are still eligible for compensation.

Mesothelioma is a devastating condition that many could have avoided. Unfortunately, unethical practices by the asbestos industry had adverse effects on its workers. If you are the victim of illness due to asbestos exposure, or any other personal injury, contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC today at 412-906-8180 to determine if you are eligible for compensation.