Silicosis is the result of breathing in particles of silica dust. Not only is silicosis an incurable disease, but it also increases the risk of developing other occupational diseases. Further, people who are exposed to silica dust in the course of their employment are also often exposed to other toxins that can lead to occupational illness or disease.
While silicosis is the oldest occupational pulmonary disease, there are other diseases that you should be aware of if you have concerns about toxic exposure. These occupational diseases include:
Asbestos Lung Cancer
Asbestos lung cancer can develop anywhere from 15 to 35 years after initial exposure to asbestos. The course of treatment and prognosis depend on the stage of cancer, the type of cancer, and comorbid medical conditions. Asbestos lung cancer accounts for about four percent of all lung cancers reported.
Asbestosis is a condition where scarring and inflammation develop in the lungs. This causes the lungs to expand and relax improperly, which makes it difficult to breathe. This condition is often worse if the patient has comorbid conditions, such as silicosis, that cause scarring, inflammation or nodules in the lungs.
Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis is a lung disease that is most commonly the result of a severe allergic reaction. In most cases, the allergic reaction is in response to dust, mold, fungus or chemicals. There is currently no cure for hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, and treatment options are somewhat limited.
Interstitial Lung Disease
Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a medical term relating to a group of disorders that cause scarring in the lungs. This includes hypersensitivity pneumonitis, asbestosis, sarcoidosis, silicosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The disorders classified as ILDs are progressive and incurable. There are generally treatments available to address symptoms and slow progression, however.
Benzene is a liquid that is common in many products, but is highly toxic. As one of the most commonly used chemicals in the U.S., benzene can be found in pesticides, lubricants, detergents, plastics, rubbers and solvents. Exposure to benzene has been linked to leukemia and other serious and life-threatening illnesses. People who work in chemical plants, oil refineries or certain manufacturers are at a greater risk of exposure.
Leukemia rates have been shown to be higher among people who work in environments where there is benzene. Many cases have also been linked to pesticides that contain benzene. Despite concerns and federal exposure regulations, benzene continues to be a source of illness for Americans.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer with no cure. It is unique in that it actually changes the patient’s DNA. Asbestos fibers lodge themselves in the tissues of the abdomen, lungs or heart, causing inflammation. As a result, the mesothelial cells suffer damage and tumors begin to form.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a disease that develops first in the white blood cells. This type of lymphoma is the result of the body producing too many abnormal lymphocytes (white blood cells), which do not die off to be replaced. Instead, the body just continues to produce cells, which grow and divide. With nowhere to go, the lymphocytes crowd into the lymph nodes, which causes inflammation.
The inflammation can spread throughout the lymphatic system, including spreading to the bone marrow. People who work around hazardous chemicals or toxic substances are more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Pneumoconiosis is a lung disease resulting most commonly from exposure to mineral dust. Most commonly, pneumoconiosis is the result of exposure to silica dust, asbestos or coal dust. Pneumoconiosis causes the sufferer to experience low blood oxygen levels, shortness of breath, chronic cough and fatigue.
Occupational Diseases Lawyer
If you or a loved one has a diagnosis of any of these occupational diseases after exposure to silica, asbestos or other toxins, contact AkinMears, L.L.P. today. Our occupational disease lawyer can certainly help determine if you have a legal claim related to exposure to occupational hazards. To find out more, call AkinMears, L.L.P. at 855-489-7853, or complete the online form.