We started the first asbestos claims in 1973 for submarine workers at Electric Boat shipyard. Close to 1,000 claims have been submitted for various diseases including asbestosis, which is a scarring of the lungs also known as pulmonary fibrosis or interstitial fibrosis. Asbestosis usually takes over 20 years to develop from the first exposure but the latency (length of time) depends on the intensity of the exposures and the duration of the exposures.
Asbestos caused lung cancer is also dependent on the intensity and duration of exposures. It frequently occurs together with cigarette smoking. Smoking alone causes about a 10 fold increase in lung cancer compared to non-smoking populations. Asbestos exposure in non-smokers results in only 5 times the expected incidents of lung cancer. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure results in almost a 50 fold increase. People who smoke and have been exposed to asbestos must stop smoking. People who do not smoke and have been exposed to asbestos must never start smoking. The 50 fold increase in lung cancer caused by multiplication of the effects of asbestos and cigarette smoking is called synergism.
The most traumatic and fatal of the asbestos disease is mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma develops in the pleural lining around the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the peritoneal lining of the abdomen. The only known cause of mesothelioma in the United States is asbestos exposure. The length of time from the initial exposure can be as long as 40 or 50 years although typically it is about 30 years for mesothelioma. It does not depend on intensity or duration. A short exposure can cause either pleural mesothelioma or peritoneal mesothelioma.
The Electric Boat Shipyard workers were extensively exposed to asbestos. In addition asbestos disease in Connecticut has been found in employment in power plants, the construction industry, sheet metal workers, carpenters, pipefitters, electricians, boilermakers and any industry in which asbestos fibers can become airborne. Even housewives doing the laundry of asbestos exposed workers are vulnerable.
Although many of the manufacturers and suppliers have gone into bankruptcy because of the lawsuits, there are still a number of asbestos manufacturers and suppliers who are still viable and have adequate insurance.
Suisman Shapiro serves clients from New London County, Windham County and Middlesex County including the communities of: New London, Norwich, Waterford, Groton, East Lyme, Stonington/North Stonington, Lyme/Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Ledyard and Montville.