We know that many workers in the United States are still exposed to asbestos in the workplace today, but you never expect high school students to be the victims. In what the U.S. District Attorney labeled “reckless,” two men have been found guilty of exposing high school students to asbestos-containing materials under the guise of work experience and job training programs.
The two men were sentenced to 24 and 27 months in federal prison, but the students may develop diseases that will affect them for much longer. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is known to be caused by asbestos exposure. It could take ten to fifty years for symptoms to arise, but the students will have to keep close watch on their respiratory health in case they do. Early treatment is the key to a higher survival rate for mesothelioma patients.
Asbestos removal is best left to the professionals. The EPA has declared the substance a hazard to human health, and special precautions must be taken when handling asbestos-containing materials. The students were not properly equipped or trained to handle the demolition debris they handled and, as a result, may have faced increased exposure.
If you know you have been exposed to asbestos in the past, it is a good idea to alert your doctor and contact an experienced asbestos attorney to determine if you are entitled to compensation by those who caused your exposure.