There were 639 asbestos-related suits filed in Madison county in 2008, compared with 455 in 2007, The number of asbestos lawsuits filed in Madison County jumped by almost 200 cases in 2008, raising alarm among tort reform advocates.
The number compares to the peak of 953 in 2003, when tort reform groups started an effort to reduce the number of suits filed in Madison County.
Asbestos is a hazardous material it can only pose a risk to health if the asbestos fibers become airborne and are then inhaled.
The asbestos minerals ability to resist high temperatures made it so useful. The fibre gives protection against fire, corrosion, cold, acids, alkalis, electricity, noise, energy loss, vibration, salt water, frost, dust and vermin. For a long time the dangers of asbestos use were not widely understood.
Two principal kinds of caner occurs from asbestos (along with other non-malignant lung diseases).
1. Mesothelioma : It is a cancer of the pleural and peritoneal lining and is considered to be almost exclusively related to exposure to asbestos. It is almost always fatal with those affected usually dying within 1 or 2 years of diagnosis.
2. Lung Cancer: it is a malignant tumour of the bronchi – the tubes carrying air to and from the lungs. The tumour grows through surrounding tissue, invading and often obstructing air passages. Again, the disease has a long latency period – typically at least 20 years.
However, Circuit Judge Dan Stack, who had informal discussions with lawyers on both sides of asbestos suits reveal that the increase nationwide, and in Madison County, may be the result of greater awareness of the health problems associated with the substance.
It’s not restricted within Madison County, awareness spreeds all around the world. Many suits filed by people suffering from asbestosis related disease of the lungs. Others merely exposed to the substance but not yet showing symptoms also have filed suits to ensure that they receive medical monitoring of any potential asbestos-related health problems.
According to the president of the tort reform group the increase in Madison County asbestos suits is “troubling,” and the increase was a reason for keeping Madison County on its watch list.
Source: The Telegraph.com