Asbestos Injuries – Mesothelioma Overview

by | Sep 24, 2011 | 0 comments

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the lung (pleural mesothelioma) or the lining of the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma). The only known cause of mesothelioma in North America is exposure to asbestos. Like the other asbestos-related diseases, mesothelioma has a long latency period (period of time between first exposure to asbestos and the diagnosis of the disease). In rare cases the latency period has been as short as 10 to 15 years after the first exposure to asbestos. Typically, however, mesothelioma occurs 20, 30, 40 or more years after the first exposure.

Unlike the other asbestos-related diseases, even low exposures to asbestos can lead to the development of malignant mesothelioma. It is not uncommon for someone to develop this cancer after only a few weeks of exposure at a summer job decades earlier or from washing clothing worn by a worker exposed to asbestos on the job. There are even cases reported in medical literature, of mesothelioma developing in people who simply lived near a site where asbestos products were used or manufactured.

The prognosis for someone diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, unfortunately, is not good. It is almost always fatal. Survival is usually limited to 12 to 18 months from the diagnosis, sometimes substantially less. There are some people, however, usually relatively young and in good health before being stricken with this disease, who have achieved long-term survival.


Asbestos disease and the litigation brought by its victims has received a lot of media attention over the years, especially concerning the bankruptcy of a number of asbestos manufacturers like Johns-Manville and Celotex, and because of class action lawsuits that were filed attempting to reach global settlements
of all asbestos claims.

It is important to know that persons who are now diagnosed with asbestos disease may have the right to bring claims against the identifiable manufacturers and suppliers of asbestos products to which they were exposed and which caused their injuries and they are not precluded from making claims by the bankruptcies and class actions.

Persons diagnosed with asbestos disease may be entitled to bring a asbestos lawsuit against the manufacturers and suppliers of asbestos products which caused their illness and injury, and to assert claims with the trusts of bankrupt asbestos makers. They may also be entitled to file a claim against their employer in Workers’ Compensation or against the railroad under the F.E.L.A.


The following is a brief summary of some of the more common asbestos containing products. By reviewing this list, you can make an initial assessment to determine if you were ever exposed to asbestos and did not know it. Asbestos pipe covering – This product came in half-moon sections and was placed around pipes. It was generally white to gray in color.

  • Asbestos block – This product was similar in appearance to asbestos pipe covering but was a rectangular shape. It was utilized for insulation around boilers, tanks and other semi-flat surfaces. It too was either white or grayish in color.
  • Asbestos cement – This product was a dry, powdery, white-grayish material that had to be mixed with water before being applied. Its major function was to fill in gaps when using pipe covering and block on boilers, tanks and other equipment.
  • Asbestos packing – This product varied in appearance from grayish-white to graphite black and came in a braided rope form. It could be oily in nature or have a more dry consistency depending upon its use. Packing was utilized to fill gaps in pump connections and other equipment where high heat could be generated. The packing was needed to seal flanges or joints.
  • Asbestos gaskets – This product could also range in color from whitish to grayish to black. It was generally a flat material that was either pre-cut (in the form of circles) or sold in sheets from which gaskets were cut. Gasket material was used as a sealant in high temperature lines between flanges and other connections.
  • Asbestos fire brick – This product could range in color from white to gray to darker colors. It came in a brick form and was utilized in or around boilers and furnaces. It was generally cemented in with asbestos furnace cement.
  • Asbestos furnace cement – This product either came in a dry or pre-mixed wet form. It was generally utilized around furnaces or boilers to hold bricks together or seal spaces.
  • Asbestos flexible duct connectors – This product was used by sheet metal workers generally in making connections for ducts, which would be carrying high temperature air.
  • Asbestos tape – This product was whitish or grayish in color or sometimes black. The black product was fibrous in appearance. Asbestos tape was used in various areas but most importantly by electricians in sealing or making electrical connections.
  • Asbestos blankets – This product was generally whitish to grayish in color and looked just like household blankets. They were used to cover hot equipment while people were working nearby and on turbines or other equipment permanently as an insulating barrier.
  • Asbestos wire – This product came in various forms but generally had some of the following designations: AF, A, AA, AIA. Asbestos covered wire generally has a fibrous appearance to its cover or to some of its inner layers.
  • Asbestos cable – This product generally had some of the following designations: AVA, AVB or AVL. Again, either the outer covering or some of the inner layers would have a fibrous appearance.
  • Asbestos containing heater cord – This product was the type of asbestos wire generally used on toasters and in high voltage electrical overhead lighting. The wire generally had two conductors and had a fibrous outer covering.
  • Asbestos brake linings – From the time cars were invented up to the mid to late 1970’s, asbestos brake linings were used in all cars. The material was generally a grayish, bulky material that was attached to the brake shoe. Asbestos brakes were utilized in both disc and drum brakes.
  • Asbestos clutches – From the time cars were invented up to the mid to late 1970’s, asbestos clutch facings were utilized in almost all vehicles. They were whitish to grayish in color and appeared in the clutch itself.
  • Asbestos corrugated sheets – This product had a wave-like appearance and was whitish to grayish in color. It was utilized in various buildings as a facing or a siding.
  • Asbestos gloves – This product was either the five finger or mitten type. They were grayish to whitish in color and had a fibrous appearance. They were used by anyone who needed to protect their hands from high temperature situations, such as those found in foundries or powerhouses, or while welding.
  • Asbestos leggings, aprons or other clothes – This product was whitish to grayish in color and had a fibrous appearance. It was used by any individuals that needed to protect any of their body parts from high temperature operations such as welding.
  • Asbestos ceiling tiles – Not all ceiling tiles contained asbestos. In many circumstances, it is difficult to distinguish which tiles did contain asbestos and which did not. If you were exposed to ceiling tiles, you should explain that to one of our attorneys.
  • Asbestos floor tiles – Not all floor tiles contained asbestos. In many circumstances, it is very difficult to distinguish which tiles did contain asbestos and which did not. If you were exposed to floor tiles, you should explain that to one of our attorneys.
  • Asbestos fire-proof spray insulation – This product was a powdery, cement material that was mixed with water and applied to beams and other areas in a building for fire-proofing. It was sprayed on with a spray gun applicator. Once installed, it gave a very fibrous and matted appearance to the beams and other areas it was utilized on.
  • Asbestos wall board – This product was an asbestos containing wall board that was used for various framing and sheeting operations. The material was gray or whitish in color and had a fibrous appearance.
  • Asbestos joint compound – This product was either a pre-mixed material or a whitish powder that when mixed with water took on a plaster-like appearance. It was utilized as a sealing compound for the joints with asbestos wall board.
  • Asbestos roofing shingles – This product was very similar in appearance to regular asphalt shingles and was utilized in areas that needed fire-proofing properties. If you worked with shingles, it is important to tell this to our attorney so he can determine if they did indeed contain asbestos.
  • Asbestos roofing paper or felt – This product was a tarry material that contained asbestos and was utilized as a base before asbestos shingles were applied. It is not apparent on all occasions whether this material did contain asbestos. If you worked with any of this material, please tell our attorneys.
  • Asbestos transite pipe – This product was a cement pipe material used in various underground conduit situations. It was whitish to grayish in color.

The above is a basic summary of some of the more general types of asbestos products. It would be important for you, when speaking to our attorneys, to advise them of everything that you did over the course of your working career to determine whether there were any other materials that you worked with that might have contained asbestos.


The following is a list of Cancer Centers in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut Tri-State area. Contact information is listed, where available.

Connecticut Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center
Yale University School of Medicine
333 Cedar Street New Haven, CT 06520-8028

New Jersey The Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
195 Little Albany Street, Room 2002B
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
732-235-8064 Clinical Cancer Center

New York Albert Einstein College of Medicine Cancer Research Center
Chanin Building 1300 Morris Park Avenue
Bronx, NY 10461
718-430-2302 Cancer Center

American Health Foundation
320 East 43rd Street
New York, NY 10017
212-953-1900 Cancer Center

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
P.O. Box 100
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
516-367-8383 Cancer Center

Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
College of Physicians and Surgeons
701 West 168th Street, Room 1509
New York, NY 10032

Kaplan Cancer Center
New York University Medical Center
550 First Avenue New York, NY 10016
212-263-5349 Clinical Cancer Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
1275 York Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Elm and Carlton Streets
Buffalo, NY 14263-0001

University of Rochester Cancer Center
601 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY 14642
716-275-6292 Clinical Cancer Center

Your Legal Rights

If you or someone you know is suffering from lung cancer and/or lung disease
asbestosis, mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases caused by asbestos
or asbestos containing products, you may be eligible to file a claim.