Asbestos is a fibrous, naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in building and manufacturing across the United States until the 1970s, when the U.S. government saw fit to regulate its use due to increasing health concerns. Because asbestos was used in such a wide range of products and industries, there are a number of different types of workers and other people who may be at risk of suffering the ill-effects of exposure. When a person is exposed to asbestos, the fibers lodge themselves in the tissue lining the lungs, abdomen or heart. The continued presence of these fibers may lead to inflammation and scarring, which creates the foundation for cancerous cells to develop.
Mesothelioma is one of the potential consequences of asbestos exposure. This deadly form of cancer affects the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) or heart (pericardial mesothelioma). Asbestos exposure may also lead to other serious medical conditions, including asbestosis, lung cancer, asbestos warts and pleural disorders.