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Your lungs after a lifetime of sheetrock

Author: Debbie Nguyen
Published: Jan 20 2014

Workers in the construction industry, including those who hung sheetrock, had a hard few years when the housing bubble burst around 2008. Luckily, the housing market is on the rebound and workers are again able to find work.

Lifetime of exposure to sheetrock

Unfortunately, hanging sheetrock, also sometimes simply referred to as "drywall," may have unintended consequences for those who currently or even previously worked in the industry. Many have found themselves exposed to asbestos, which can lead to the rare cancer mesothelioma, and should understand the dangers that they faced and how to recover after exposure.

Mesothelioma has continuously had a poor prognosis since the disease was discovered, and the medical care necessary to treat and potentially cure the illness is excessively expensive. The disease can take between 30 and 40 years to even show symptoms, according to a mesothelioma attorney New York city-based. This is why anyone who suspects that they may suffer from the cancer should immediately seek out medical and legal advice.

Exposure To Asbestos

Sadly, exposure to asbestos is a common occurrence for those who work with drywall. Before the material was outlawed, it was used in a variety of drywall products. In addition, those who work with drywall that doesn't contain asbestos may still be exposed to the material through older types of insulation.

It's important to remember that, in many cases, asbestos doesn't prove harmful to workers in the construction industry. In fact, asbestos that is sealed with paint or isn't disturbed through other work usually poses no risk at all. It's when the material becomes disturbed that it can enter the air and affect those working around it. Years of exposure can lead to serious health consequences, so it's imperative for sheetrock workers to know how to protect themselves.

Staying Healthy

There's no real way to prevent mesothelioma after exposure, but a prior or current sheetrock worker can do various things to protect their lungs from further damage.

Don't Smoke: Smoking can cause lung cancer on its own, so it's simply foolish to engage in this unhealthy habit. This is especially the case when asbestos exposure has been a possibility.

Tend to Indoor Air Quality: Damage to the lungs can also come from indoor air pollution. These sources can include mold, fireplace ash and even pet dander. Using an indoor air purifier can go a long way.

Use Protective Gear: For those still in the industry, it's imperative to wear dust masks or even respirators while working around materials that could potentially contain asbestos or which have small particulates that you could inhale.

What To Do If Symptoms Arise

There are a variety of symptoms that present with mesothelioma. These symptoms include chest wall pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, cough or wheezing, coughing up blood and a variety of others. If these symptoms are presenting, it's imperative for a person to seek out immediate medical help. These symptoms could be indicative of several health issues, and all of them are worth a doctor's visit.

If an individual has developed mesothelioma, it's imperative that they start treatment immediately and seek out legal help. Attorneys who have experience with mesothelioma know how to seek out compensation for their clients, and this is essential considering the health costs and adverse effects related to the disease. Without legal help, a person will likely find themselves unable to cover their medical bills or even care for their family.

Construction workers trusted that they were being cared for during the course of their employment, so it's only right for them to be reimbursed for the medical bills and related losses after giving a lifetime of work.

Debbie Nguyen worries about mesothelioma because her husband is in the building industry and often works on renovations. Her research into asbestos in older buildings led her to the mesothelioma attorney New York practice of The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C.

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