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When did mesothelioma lawsuits begin?

The timeline for mesothelioma lawsuits and asbestos issues is lengthy, since the dangers of asbestos weren't known for a long time and had to be proven before real action could be taken.

Generally speaking, the 1930s saw the rise of the first asbestos lawsuits. This is when people were initially beginning to recognize the danger.

Even then, though, mesothelioma was not a big focus. It had a long latency period and wasn't very common. These lawsuits in the 1930s typically revolved around other diseases and types of cancer.

That doesn't mean these lawsuits had no value to the modern mesothelioma cases. They still did a lot to show how dangerous asbestos was. This is something we all easily take as fact today, but that wasn't always the case. They also helped to show that some companies had known about these risks and then actively worked to keep employees and the public from finding out.

A large change came in 1970, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put out an official report linking lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. Regulations began to be made at the state level and the federal level.

Once this was done, the following two decades -- the 1980s and the 1990s -- saw a sharp rise in the amount of legal cases related to asbestos and mesothelioma. By the 1990s, a lot of the main companies involved had been forced to close.

It's now been almost 90 years since those early cases, and issues still persist. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, you need to know your legal rights.

Source: Findlaw, "Mesothelioma Lawsuit and Settlement History," accessed March 10, 2017

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