Mesothelioma and Its Impact on Railroad Workers | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

For almost a century, asbestos was used in all kinds of materials. This mineral is made up of tiny fibers. The reason for its popularity was that it has a high resistance to fire, heat, and many chemicals. Asbestos was used in fireproofing materials, building supplies, and many other products that we are exposed to every day. But asbestos can be lethal to anyone who is exposed to it. Many people who worked in construction and transportation industries have developed mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers and diseases.

One industry where asbestos exposure was rampant was in the railroad industry.

Until a few decades ago, steam was the primary mode of power for trains. Asbestos was used in multiple products that railroad workers used and were exposed to every single day. Asbestos-containing products were used to insulate steam pipes, ceilings, gaskets, and brake shoes. In the repair shops, railroad workers handled sheets of asbestos, cutting and fitting the sheets onto items that they were repairing.    





What none of these railroad workers knew – but railroad officials knew – was that this daily exposure would end up being a death sentence for thousands of workers and their families.

Asbestos was banned by the U.S. government in the 1970’s because it was revealed that the microscopic fibers from asbestos easily broke off and if inhaled, could cause lung cancers, stomach cancers, and other fatal diseases. This wasn’t new news to railroad industry officials. Evidence has revealed that they knew as far back as the 1920’s what asbestos exposure could do to workers.

Tragically, decades of asbestos exposure have caused many railroad workers to develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. And because second-hand exposure from the dust on worker’s clothing, skin, hair, and tools can be just as deadly, many of their family members have also been diagnosed. It can take years for symptoms of mesothelioma to appear and by the time it does, it is too late. There is no cure. Our North Carolinas railroad attorneys have successfully worked with many asbestos cancer and mesothelioma victims and their families in lawsuits against the railroad companies responsible for their fatal illnesses.

Types of Mesothelioma

There are three different types of mesothelioma that railroad victims can develop.

The most common type is pleural mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs. Approximately 75 percent of victims develop this type. It is often misdiagnosed as lung cancer or pneumonia. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain;
  • Excessive coughing;
  • Fatigue;
  • Fluid in the lungs;
  • All over body aches and pains; and
  • Sudden weight loss.

Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen and affects approximately 25 percent of people who develop mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain and swelling of the stomach;
  • Anemia;
  • Fluid buildup in abdomen area;
  • Bowel obstruction;
  • Sudden weight loss;
  • Fever; and
  • Nausea.

The third type of mesothelioma that can develop from asbestos exposure affects the lining of the heart. Pericardial is a rare form of mesothelioma and is often misdiagnosed as heart disease or heart failure. Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain;
  • Heart murmur;
  • Pericardial effusion;
  • Arrhythmia;
  • Dyspnea;
  • Fever; and
  • Night sweats

Contact a Carolinas Mesothelioma Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, contact a North Carolina asbestos attorney today to discuss what legal options you may have. It is imperative that you do not delay because, under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), victims only have three years from the time a victim knows or should have known that their disease or death was connected to their work with the railroad.