While Oklahoma is an agricultural state, at its heart lies gas and oil. According to statistics, Oklahoma is the third-largest producer of natural gas and the fifth-largest producer of oil in the country. These industries can pose problems for the state. The Environmental Protection Agency has added several locations in Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma Refining Company and the Hudson Refinery, to the country’s Superfund National Priorities List due to asbestos contamination. W.R. Grace and Company, a mining business, may have also negatively impacted the state between 1948 and 1993 by shipping asbestos-containing vermiculite to several regions in the state, including Southard, Duke and Oklahoma City.
According to The Mesothelioma Center, at least 285 mesothelioma deaths occurred in the state between 1999 and 2010, and 43 residents died from asbestos. Although manufacturing provides more than 150,000 jobs in the state, this particular industry has a known history of exposing workers to asbestos, a toxic mineral, through various materials. For instance, Tulsa is home to the largest aircraft maintenance base in the world. While this boosts the state’s economy and generates thousands of jobs, many of these employees may have been exposed to asbestos-containing valves, gaskets, insulation and brakes before regulations pertaining to the mineral were implemented in the 1970s.
Asbestosis vs. Mesothelioma: What is the Difference?
To the average person, there may not be any noticeable difference between asbestosis vs. mesothelioma. Both can be caused by asbestos exposure, both are life-threatening and both can cause similar symptoms in those who have been affected such as difficulty breathing, dry coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
However, there are several key differences between asbestosis and mesothelioma that are important to keep in mind, particularly for those who feel they have been negatively affected by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma begins in the linings of the membranes on the lungs, not in the lungs themselves. While it is not officially known as lung cancer in the medical community, it can be very similar to asbestosis.
On the other hand, asbestosis can spread to other parts of the body, but it always begins in the lungs. Like mesothelioma, this nonmalignant form of cancer can develop due to years of asbestos exposure. It is also important to understand that symptoms of the conditions may not manifest immediately; many patients who are diagnosed with the diseases may not develop complications for up to 20 to 50 years.
Women File Asbestos Lawsuits in Oklahoma
According to The Madison-St. Clair Record, two more asbestosis vs. mesothelioma lawsuits have been filed recently. One plaintiff filed her lawsuit on February 27, 2014 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against 21 defendant corporations while another filed her lawsuit on the same date against 41 defendant corporations.
The plaintiffs allege that the defendant companies caused their deceased husbands to develop mesothelioma and lung cancer, respectively, after their exposure to asbestos-containing products throughout their careers. The asbestos lawsuits state that the defendants knew or should have known of the dangers of asbestos but failed to exercise reasonable caution and care for the decedents’ safety.
As a result of their asbestos-related diseases, the two men allegedly became disfigured and disabled, suffered great mental anguish and physical pain and incurred significant medical costs. Additionally, the suits claim that they were prevented from pursuing their normal course of employment and, as a result, lost large sums of money that they would have otherwise accrued. According to the complaints, the men died from their diseases.
Do You Have Questions about Asbestosis vs. Mesothelioma Lawsuits?
If you or someone you love developed a life-threatening condition or if you would like to learn more about asbestos lawsuits and pursuing a claim for compensation, contact Attorney Group for Oklahoma today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. We can help answer your questions and connect you with an affiliated attorney who can file your asbestos lawsuit and assist you throughout the legal process.