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History of Asbestos Litigation

Ancient Romans first noted that asbestos – despite being a durable, flame-resistant material – tended to cause lung problems in those who were often exposed to it. Still, it was not until 1929 that the first asbestos-related lawsuit was filed after doctors began discovering lung damage in people who worked with asbestos fibers. However, asbestos-related cases were then mostly nonexistent until a 1966 case that targeted 11 major asbestos manufacturers.

Asbestos Litigation in the 1950s-1980s

A study conducted in the 1950s found that asbestos has the ability to cause mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. After this, asbestos litigation quickly increased. In 1966, a man named Claude Tomplait named 11 asbestos manufacturers in a lawsuit alleging that he developed asbestosis as a result of asbestos exposure. In 1969, a case in Texas paved the way for regulations that required asbestos manufacturers to warn consumers of the potential risks of asbestos exposure.

In the late 1980s, the federal government acknowledged the dangers of asbestos. In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its Asbestos Ban and Phase-Out in order to reduce asbestos exposure and help prevent asbestos-related illnesses.

Early vs. Late Onset Asbestos Disorders

One important factor in asbestos litigation is the threat of disease. At first, people only took part in asbestos litigation if they developed early-onset asbestos-related disorders, such as asbestosis. Asbestosis develops as asbestos exposure begins to cause scarring of the lungs. This can appear very soon after the initial exposure.

On the other hand, mesothelioma has a long latency period, meaning that it can take 15 to 30 years before symptoms manifest. Thus, even though asbestos was banned in the late 1980s, some individuals may still be at risk for developing mesothelioma due to exposure that occurred decades ago.

In 2010, a California woman was awarded more than $200 million after she developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure.

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If you have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to understand the health risks that you may be facing. To learn more, please fill out the contact form located at the top of our Mesothelioma Help Center page today.

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