The link between exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma has been well-documented for years and has resulted in millions of dollars of recovery for victims. Recently, new information has come to light that indicates that exposure to asbestos may also be linked to the development of certain autoimmune disorders.
Serpentine and Amphibole Fibers Involve Different Risks
The term “asbestos” refers to a number of different mineral fibers that can be classified as either “serpentine” or “amphibole.” According to one of the researchers, the serpentine fiber chrysotile is most associated with the development of cancer. On the other hand, exposure to the other types of asbestos–amphibole fibers–seems to be linked to an autoimmune response. Specifically, amphibole asbestos fibers are linked to the production of certain autoantibodies, which are proteins produced by a person’s own immune system that then attack the body. The studies referenced in the article focus on a town in Montana called Libby, in which a vermiculite mine operated for decades. The researchers found that the mine workers and residents of Libby had a statistically significant increased risk for the development of certain autoantibodies as well as an increased risk for certain autoimmune conditions.
Study Points to New Risks from Asbestos Exposure
One of the most troubling aspects of this study is that occupational exposure to the type of asbestos at issue is still occurring in many areas. For example, the material extracted from the mine was used as insulation in the World Trade Center buildings that collapsed on 9/11. In addition, the article indicates that additional research has detected elevated levels of amphibole contamination in soil and airborne dust around Las Vegas.
Exposure to asbestos, whether resulting in mesothelioma or autoimmune disorders, can cause serious health issues that can affect victims for years.
Contact Lopez McHugh, LLP Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
Individuals who suspect that they have developed chronic or serious health conditions due to asbestos exposure should discuss their case with an attorney as soon as possible. It is important for victims to be aware that claims alleging environmental exposure are governed by a strict statute of limitations that sets time limits for initiating a lawsuit, so any delay may jeopardize your right to recover. The attorneys of Lopez McHugh, LLP are dedicated to helping people injured by exposure to harmful materials recover for their injuries. Call our office or contact us via the site today to schedule your free consultation.