Our Fathers, Our Heroes

June 21, 2015
Father and son hugging

Maybe you grew up in a household with a father whose work schedule you could set a watch by. He was up at 6:00 (or earlier) every morning, out the door by 7:00 a.m., home exactly at 5:30 every afternoon, covered head to toe in dust from a hard day’s work at the local steel mill or factory. Or perhaps he worked in commercial construction, swinging a hammer and a power saw with the best of them, helping to build the schools, apartment complexes and office buildings which you eventually grew up to occupy.

Pick almost any trade from the middle of the last century, and you’ll find thousands upon thousands of capable, dependable, hardworking dads who toiled at strenuous jobs every day in order to feed, clothe and provide a stable, loving household for their families.

Now Dad is retired, set to live out the rest of his days on a golf course, or gardening, or engaging full time in that woodworking hobby he hardly ever had time for when he was raising a family. But lately your father has been short of breath, unable to summon the stamina to engage in the activities in which he once found so much pleasure. He went to see his physician, who ran some tests.

The results were shocking. Your father, the pillar of your family and a hero to you and your siblings for so many reasons, has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by exposure to the deadly mineral asbestos.

You’ve spent your life idolizing a man who seemed invincible, and now your father’s life seems fragile and precarious. How will his quality of life diminish as the cancer strengthens its hold on his body? Can, and should, he fight back with surgery, drugs and chemo or radiation therapies? There are so many questions. Watching the champion in your life face a monster no one should ever have to fight can be devastating for the entire family, and especially for the children who worship him.

This Father’s Day, honor your dad’s important legacy by taking the following steps:

Learn about the disease

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found all over the world. In the late 1800s, asbestos was found to have amazing qualities of fire and heat resistance. Light in weight but possessing superior strength, asbestos had an amazing ability to bind other materials to itself and to each other. It was readily available and as cheap as dirt. By the early 1900s, asbestos fibers were woven into fabric for fireproof clothing, oven mitts, ironing board covers and other heat-proof fabrics, incorporated into construction materials such as pipe insulation, roofing, siding, plaster, floor tile, wall-joint compound and paint, used in steel mills and chemical plants and other industrial sites wherever protection from heat, steam or fire was needed. Asbestos products were cut, drilled, sanded, and crushed in the process of using them. They also broke down from daily wear and tear. That released microscopic fibers into the air all around the workers. The men (and women) who toiled in such factories breathed that asbestos-laden air every day, sometimes for decades at a time. The fibers became imbedded deep in the tissues of the lung or abdominal cavities, where they festered for years, creating scar tissue which eventually impaired the lungs’ ability to take in air, and sometimes progressed to lung cancer or, in the worst cases, mesothelioma, a deadly cancer of the lining of the lung or abdomen.

Fight back

The manufacturers who used asbestos fibers in their products continued to do so after the medical community raised the alarm about its extreme toxicity, in some cases even suppressing reports prepared by their own insurers about the deadliness of this class one carcinogen. Those companies deserve to be punished for the harm they have inflicted on countless families. By filing a lawsuit against the manufacturers who continued to incorporate asbestos into their products even after they knew it was deadly, your family is sending a strong message that such injustice toward humanity will not be tolerated. A lawsuit creates precedent and strengthens the argument for a complete ban on asbestos across the globe.

Get involved

Although the Environmental Protection Agency fought to have asbestos banned from all products in 1989, the asbestos manufacturers fought just as hard to keep asbestos legal – and won. Amazingly, asbestos continues to be mined, and its use in certain products, such as brake linings and cement water pipe, is still not banned in the United States, although it has been made illegal in 55 other countries. You can join the fight to get asbestos banned completely in the United States once and for all, by becoming a member of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, (ADAO), an independent organization sponsored by Baron & Budd in the past which advocates for a cure to mesothelioma and fights to ban asbestos in the U.S. You can also add your voice to the Facebook group Fight Mesothelioma which is sponsored by Baron & Budd.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the attorneys at Baron & Budd for a completely confidential evaluation of your case.

Honor Dad’s legacy this Father’s Day by not letting another minute go by without taking steps to condemn the continued use of this deadly toxin and the manufacturers who continued to expose the public to it even after they knew it was a killer.

A lawsuit will not make up for the pain and suffering caused by mesothelioma, but it can ease the burden of medical care and bring attention to the blatant negligence of the asbestos industry. The heroes who are our dads deserve no less.