Merlin Olsen died yesterday. The NFL Hall of Famer, TV commentator, and actor also had a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma, from which he died. There is only one known cause for mesothelioma – long term exposure to asbestos. Read on to find out more about mesothelioma and asbestos.
What is asbestos and what does it do to the body?
Aesbestos is a fiber that has been used in buildings and ships because of its insulation and heat resistant properties. Asbestos fibers are tiny, and can’t be seen by the naked eye. It’s very dangerous to inhale these invisible fibers. According to the American Cancer Institute:
“When asbestos fibers are breathed in, some can travel to the ends of the small air passages and reach the lining of the lungs. There they can damage the cells lining the lungs, and with time lead to pleural mesothelioma. If swallowed, these fibers can also reach the lining of the abdominal cavity where they play a part in causing peritoneal mesothelioma.”
Who is at risk for mesothelioma?
People who have worked in construction, ship building, mining, and in factories can be at risk. It takes many years for the disease to develop, so often the results of the asbestos exposure are not apparent until many years later.
Filing a Mesothelioma or Asbestos Lawsuit
Many lawsuits have been filed against employers, alleging that they knowingly exposed their workers to dangerous asbestos fibers. In fact, even Merlin Olsen filed a mesothelioma lawsuit in December of 2009.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the first step to filing a lawsuit is to find a personal injury lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma. Craig E. Coleman, pictured above, provides asbestos and mesothelioma litigation services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.