Individuals who work as teachers often encounter asbestos exposure in older school buildings. Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford is committed to seeking justice for teachers exposed to asbestos.
It may not seem like teachers would be at risk of developing mesothelioma. However, teachers and asbestos exposure is a risk — and not just teachers who taught in years past. Current teachers, too, are at risk of asbestos exposure and could develop mesothelioma.
Teachers are the backbone of our communities in New York. At Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC, we are proud to support teachers who may have been exposed to asbestos and who are facing health complications as a result.
Our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and have helped clients recover over one billion dollars in compensation. You can trust our experienced legal team to handle your case with the care and diligence it deserves.
Teachers and Asbestos Exposure Happens in the Classroom
Schools and administration buildings in the United States constructed from the 1980s onward will not contain materials with asbestos. Before that time, for decades, homes, businesses, and schools were built with cement, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, drywall compounds, and insulation that contained asbestos.
Materials containing asbestos are still found in many school buildings. As early as 1986, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that potentially 15 million children and 1.5 million teachers at over 35,000 schools were at risk of asbestos exposure.
Teachers and Asbestos Exposure Happens Accidentally and Unknowingly
Teachers care for the well-being of their students. No teacher would knowingly put their safety or the safety of their students in danger. Yet teachers who work at older school buildings may expose themselves or their students to asbestos without realizing it.
When asbestos is undisturbed, there is little risk to the teacher or others. However, moving, damaging, or disturbing materials made with asbestos can cause asbestos particles to become airborne. Asbestos fiber particles are microscopic, so it is impossible for teachers to know when asbestos has been released into the air.
According to the Gazette, Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, may have unwittingly exposed its faculty to asbestos. A company hired to clean up storm damage improperly removed floor tiles containing asbestos and used a large fan to ventilate the area. The fan would have blown asbestos particles throughout the area.
Room renovations are just one way that asbestos can be spread in the classroom. Teachers and asbestos exposure may also happen through:
- Nailing pictures or posters to walls that contain asbestos
- Replacing worn or damaged ceiling tiles that contain asbestos
- Hitting or knocking insulation containing asbestos from ceilings or pipes
There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, so even sending a small amount of asbestos into the air can pose a health risk.
When Do Teachers Develop Mesothelioma After Asbestos Exposure?
The risk of mesothelioma in teachers is not as high as it is for some other industries like construction and shipbuilding.
A teacher may not know they have developed mesothelioma until much later in life, though. It can take years or decades before mesothelioma signs and symptoms are impossible to ignore and an official diagnosis is made.
Asbestos exposure does not guarantee a mesothelioma diagnosis later in life. Nonetheless, if you or a loved one worked in an older school building built before 1980, you should be aware that you may have been exposed to asbestos. You should be aware of new symptoms that may suggest asbestos exposure, such as:
Symptoms in the Chest and Lungs
Pleural mesothelioma is mesothelioma that develops in the lining of the lungs. This form of mesothelioma may start with symptoms that affect your breathing. You may notice that you are becoming short of breath more easily. You may also experience difficulty taking full breaths.
Pericardial mesothelioma develops in the pericardium, which surrounds the heart. This can lead to symptoms in the chest. Specifically, if you suspect asbestos exposure and notice unexplained chest pains, you should consult with your doctor or another medical professional.
Symptoms in the Stomach and Intestines
Asbestos fibers can also settle into the lining of the stomach and intestines, and mesothelioma can develop there. When this happens, some of the early signs of trouble include abdominal pain, swelling of the abdomen, bloating, and changes in the frequency and nature of bowel movements.
Responsibility for Teachers and Asbestos Exposure
As a teacher, you depend on your administration to provide you with the information and tools you need to do your job well. It is no different for asbestos. If school administrators know or have reason to know that asbestos is present in the school, they have a duty to warn teachers so they can take precautions for themselves and their students.
This can involve verbal or written warnings about the presence of asbestos on school grounds. It can also involve placing conspicuous warning signs where asbestos is known to be present.
Finally, school administrators can reduce the incidences of teachers and asbestos exposure by limiting the conditions under which remodeling or decorating is allowed. Administrators should hire professionals trained in asbestos removal to clean or remodel classrooms.
What to Do Following a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Learning you or a loved one has mesothelioma can turn your world upside down. You may be at a loss for what to do or how to protect yourself and your family. You can take certain actions that may help prolong your life and improve your quality of life. These include:
Seeking Qualified and Knowledgeable Medical Assistance
If you do not have an oncologist whom you regularly see, ask your primary care doctor for a recommendation. Your local hospital or urgent care center may also provide recommendations. Your oncologist can work with you to determine the best course of treatment that will yield the greatest results.
Place Your Affairs in Order
If you have been meaning to create an estate plan but just have not gotten around to it, now would be a good time to handle this matter. A will and power of attorney can provide direction to your loved ones concerning the type of medical care you want to receive and how you want your affairs wrapped up following your passing.
Provide for Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Mesothelioma does not develop absent asbestos exposure. Teachers and asbestos exposure are necessary for a mesothelioma diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you were exposed to asbestos in the classroom or elsewhere. You may have the legal right to file a claim and seek monetary compensation for your diagnosis.
A mesothelioma claim can often be pursued without the need for you to travel for court appearances and hearings. A successful claim can give you and your family compensation for your bills and expenses, as well as your loved one’s anticipated future costs. Your and your family’s pain and mental hardships can also be compensated.
Teachers and Asbestos Exposure Require Skilled Legal Representation
Our experienced legal team at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC knows full well the pain and heartache you and your family are experiencing. We are here to use our knowledge and talents to place you and your family in the best position possible for the future.
Contact our office and request your no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation. We will explain your rights to you and discuss how we can help you assert them through a mesothelioma claim.
There are surely many excellent, smart, and hard-working attorneys and John Comerford and Zach Woods rank as those. What sets John and Zach apart from those other excellent, smart, and hard-working attorneys are two factors. The first factor is passion. They truly care about what they do and they truly are in it to help people. The money they make (which is substantial) is a result of that passion and not the root of what drives them. The second factor is, for lack of a better phrase, simply “customer service.” If you call or email John or Zach, they will either pick up right away or, if they are busy, they respond quickly that “hey, we will get right back to you.” And then they get actually back to you. So if you have suffered a substantial, life-changing, catastrophic injury, the burden of that injury is enough. You shouldn’t also contend with passionless and aloof attorneys – and that is why you should choose John and Zach. – Justin C.