Belluck is referring to a new study of 17,345 sheet metal workers published in the August, 2009, issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. The study confirms that workers with 20 or more years in the sheet metal trade are at significantly higher risk of dying from asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis.
Asbestosis has already been linked to miners, shipyard workers, drywallers and construction workers.
"I think what has tended to happen in the history of asbestosis and asbestosis litigation is there is a case and then another case until you get a critical mass of cases in that occupation," says Belluck whose firm has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of mesothelioma victims.
"It is really not surprising that sheet metal workers would be in the category of those at risk for asbestosis-related diseases," Belluck adds. "A lot of the sheet metal work involves heating and ventilation ducting that was insulated with asbestos or used asbestos gaskets or sealing materials between the pieces of sheet metal."
"Sheet metal workers often work in the ceilings of buildings. They typically would have come into contact with asbestos-containing ceiling tiles or beams coated asbestos for fire protection."
Many of the workers now facing an excruciating death from mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos in the 60s, 70s and 80s before exposure to the deadly potential of asbestosis was completely understood and controlled. Typically, decades pass before the symptoms begin to appear and the diagnosis is made.
That means that many of the victims of asbestos-related lung diseases such as cancer and mesothelioma are in the final stages of life before realize they are sick and dying. Belluck and Fox currently have about half a dozen mesothelioma clients.
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"Dealing with families who have loved ones who are dying can be very difficult at times," says Belluck. "But it is also rewarding when we can help our clients at a time when they need it very badly."
This new study Belluck believes will help many mesothelioma victims get justice for their injuries.
Joe Belluck is a founding partner in the firm of Belluck and Fox. A nationally recognized attorney, Belluck's practice focuses on absbestos/mesothelioma cases, as well as consumer, environmental and product injury litigation. He has won a number of cases involving lead paint, defective medical products and tobacco. Belluck and Fox have four offices in the state of New York.