If you work construction or at a Virginia shipyard, you face the serious threat of asbestos exposure that could result in your becoming totally disabled or even dying. So many of the products and materials you work with on a daily basis contain asbestos, and FindLaw explains that you have virtually no way of not inhaling the microscopic fibers it gives off, regardless of the protective clothing and equipment you use. 

Unfortunately, shipbuilders and construction workers represent two of the riskiest occupations when it comes to asbestos exposure. Other high-risk occupations include the following: 

  • Bricklayer 
  • Stonemason 
  • Welder 
  • Pipefitter 
  • Auto mechanic 
  • Miner 

You likewise face increased risk if you work as a firefighter, renovator, contractor, etc. Why? Because virtually all of the older buildings in which you combat fires or upgrade the premises used massive amounts of asbestos in their construction. 

Asbestos inhalation consequences 

The longer you breathe in asbestos fibers, the more they build up in your lungs and other tissues. Over time, this can result in mesothelomia, an incurable form of cancer, or asbestosis, a debilitating and likewise incurable lung disease. Worse yet, the initial symptoms of both diseases are so generalized that it may take you years to get a proper diagnosis. For instance, all of the following represent not only mesothelioma and asbestosis symptoms, but also those of a variety of other illnesses as well: 

  • Chest pain 
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Coughing, with or without blood 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Decreased weight 

Do not ignore any of the above symptoms, especially if they persist for longer than a week or two. See your doctor and be sure, as part of your medical history, to let him or her know the kind of work you do as well as how long you have done it and that you suspect the onset of mesothelioma and/or asbestosis. While (s)he cannot cure you of either, the sooner you receive a proper diagnosis, the sooner (s)he can begin treatments and therapies that will manage your disease, minimize your symptoms to the greatest extent possible, and make your life more comfortable. 

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.