What should I do if I suspect exposure to asbestos?

The news startled you and everyone else where you worked. Evidence exists of asbestos exposure in the workplace. Inhaling its particles which may lead to serious health complications.

Now that you suspect asbestos exposure, what do you do?

Contact your doctor and explore legal options

If you were recently exposed to asbestos, please understand that the signs of illness such as mesothelioma do not surface for decades. However, it would be a much different story if you have been regularly exposed to asbestos in the workplace for decades and only learned about it now.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Immediately see a physician. Discuss with your doctor the previous jobs that may have led to asbestos exposure or whether you lived with someone regularly exposed to it. Disclose the dates and duration of exposure, too. Also, determine the tests that you may need in determining your level of risk and whether to meet with a medical specialist.
  • Alert your employer – who already may know: Granted, your health concerns remain a priority. However, promptly inform your employer and determine whether it has taken steps to end this exposure and implemented cleanup action. Employers should be aware of this issue. They should be taking the responsibility to protect their workers, while providing every safety precaution. If necessary, contact the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Be proactive in avoiding future exposure to asbestos: If you know that you work in an environment where asbestos is present, make sure to wear personal protective equipment such as the proper safety mask, respirator, eyewear, disposable coveralls and boots.
  • Explore legal options: Do some research. Look into specific cases involving victims of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural effusion, and cancer of the larynx and ovaries. You need to determine whether your family may qualify for compensation, too, and an attorney can provide crucial insight.
  • Continue to monitor your health: Especially make sure you seek medical advice if you experience symptoms such as coughing, chest pains and shortness of breath.

There are plenty of things to do if you think you have been exposed to asbestos. Take these initial steps.

Promptly act

The concerns you have seem endless. You understand that the majority of asbestos-related diseases usually surface after years of regular exposure to the mineral. Those illnesses, though, may take up to 50 years to surface. Still, you need to take prompt action. Your life and family depend on it.