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Asbestos Exposure: "None of us had a Clue"

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St. Petersburg, FLSteve S. had a job back in the 1980s removing asbestos from a huge General Electric plant. Now, his chronic cough is getting so bad that his doctor wants Steve to have lung tests next week. What really worries Steve is that his uncle has been diagnosed with mesothelioma—a form of cancer that is directly linked to asbestos exposure-- and their symptoms are identical.

"In my first year of college I read an ad in the newspaper for asbestos removal laborers at the biggest General Electric plant in the country," says Steve (who wishes to remain anonymous pending an asbestos lawsuit). "They hired college workers to get the cheapest labor for the nastiest job possible. None of us had a clue. I just worked one summer, removing everything inside the plant, everything but the roof. Once we started removing asbestos you couldn't see five feet in front of you due to the dust. It was like a thick white cloud but so thick you could actually see asbestos particles floating in the air, all around us.

Asbestos Building"They gave us masks at the beginning of the job, along with suits and a rinse-down station. But it was about 120 degrees inside; we all complained about the heat so they told us that we could remove our masks and outfits. In retrospect that was nonsense. We were still shoveling piles of asbestos; it gagged you, it still covered the whole building.

We didn't complain but everyone just coughed a lot. We were strong college kids and nothing phased us.

The job ended and I went back to college, along with about 25 of my fellow students. After that it seemed to be no big deal. But about two or three years later I developed a chronic cough. I went to a few different doctors and they told me it looked like I had an asthmatic type condition. I never got x-rays, just a cough medicine and antibiotics. I was about 20 years old, absolutely healthy, played sports and never smoked.

All these years, I just assumed that I had asthma and I've been living with it. However, as I'm aging, it is getting worse. At first, the cough was seasonal but now it has developed to pretty much all the time. I can never get a good night's sleep without sleeping pills. I have an inhaler and I take prednisone but nothing is helping anymore. I am only 46 - I hadn't been too concerned about my health until this past year. And my wife is very upset—she thinks something is really wrong with me.

Up until this point I didn't think about getting lung x-rays and tests. I never talked to my doctors about asbestos exposure because I never realized that it could affect me all these years later.

I'm still a healthy guy but this nagging, persistent cough-- and taking the harshest meds-- is not getting any better. In fact I saw my doctor three times in the last two weeks. Now he is sending me to the hospital for tests.

I have a lump in my throat thinking about it -I'm a big strong guy and it breaks me up. People try to get cheap labor and they didn't tell us the consequences. But they knew. My wife's uncle really gives me cause for concern--not only for him but for myself.

I have no history of asthma in my family; all my relatives are healthy as can be. Where did this condition come from? I don't know how it happened. I used to golf, play tennis, lift weights, run on the treadmill, I did everything. Over the last year I can't do anything more than walk around the block. I was a master captain in the merchant marine industry and ran charter fishing businesses and in my last job, I was co-captain on a casino boat. I lost my job—there was no elevator on the ship and I had to run up and down so many stairs. And as you can imagine, our casino customers all smoked. I couldn't work there any longer because it aggravated my symptoms and I had no choice but to quit.

And I don't have medical insurance. It's sad that the US hasn't yet banned asbestos. What is wrong with this world? A lawsuit can't give me back what I have lost but I might be in store for a lot of medical expenses. And I have to think about my family—that is what I fear the most."

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Asbestos and Mesothelioma Legal Help

If you or a loved one is suffering from lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases caused by exposure to asbestos or asbestos containing products, please contact a lawyer involved in a possible [Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuit] to review your case at no cost or obligation.

READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Internal Association Of Heat And Frost Insulators And Asbestos Workers :Union# 86 : reg.No.P- 7612.
Worked in insulation for ten years, went in healthy, came out with asthma, chronic brohnchitis, dry cough, breathing problems! Do I have a case?

Posted by

on
I've had a very severe chronic cough that is controlled by medication every three hours this includes nights I was a mechanic in Army for 5 years and worked in chemical plant for over 11 years The walls in our control room were insulated with exposed asbestos most of are pipe lines were also insulated with asbestos this plant was built in early 60's. The did come in and removed all the asbestos in the 80's My cough has been getting worse every year for the last 15 years. Dr. have run about every test possible with no real answer. Just need to know if I have a case

Posted by

on
my dad worked for general electric years ago and developed cancer --- he just died from it this pass saturday -- from what i gather from my sister he already had filed a lawsuit with someone is there anyway that i can find out who is handling his case ---- his name was edward b gabbaard and he lived in the seminole fl area
thank you k.e. gabbard

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