Only One Cause
Thanks to the state’s large manufacturing, power generation and agriculture markets, Illinois ranks No. 6 in the nation in deaths caused mesothelioma, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Two counties in particular – Lake and Rock Island – ranked in the Top 20 in the nation for highest rates of death from mesothelioma, according to a 2006 study published in the International Journal of Occupational Environmental Health.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that attacks the mesothelium, the membrane that lines many of the body’s vital organs. And it has only one cause – the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers. Pleural mesothelioma attacks the lining of the lungs, while peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdomen. Pericardial mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining that surrounds the heart, occurs far less frequently than pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma.
What makes the disease even more insidious is the fact that its symptoms can often mimic those of common respiratory illnesses. In fact, it can take three, four or even five decades for mesothelioma to be diagnosed. People who were exposed in the 1950s may just now realize they have the disease.
The Main Culprits
Asbestos is also found in myriad older buildings in Illinois – even in the state’s infrastructure. The deadly material has even been found in some municipal water systems due to the fact water pipes were routinely made using asbestos cement from the 1930s to the 1970s.
Arguably the most disturbing example of the pervasiveness of asbestos in Illinois can be found in approximately 200 public school buildings in Chicago. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), as recently as 2013 there were serious asbestos problems in 184 Chicago school buildings. Every day, the known carcinogen surrounded elementary, middle school and high school students.
The EWG reported that by 2015, only 11 schools had complied with asbestos removal recommendations issued by Chicago Public Schools officials. Some school buildings had asbestos-contaminated pipe insulation that was falling apart, as well as crumbling plaster laden with the material.
If you live in Illinois – particularly if your child attends public school in Chicago or you went to school in the city yourself – you should consider having a doctor perform an examination to see if you or a loved one has developed an asbestos-related disease. Baron & Budd may be able to help if you or someone you know receives a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Get started online now or call 855-280-7664 to learn more about your legal options.