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Measure dealing with asbestos-related diseases passes Senate

120314 js 0317RMesothelioma, a type of cancer linked to asbestos exposure, is often an aggressive and fast-moving disease. Attacking the membranes that protect the heart, lungs and other vital organs, it causes death within an average of eight to fourteen months following diagnosis.

But symptoms typically don’t manifest themselves for 20 years — or even as long as 50 years — following exposure to the fibers that make up asbestos, which was widely used in construction as late as 1970s and is still being removed from many homes and buildings.

That’s a problem for sufferers and their families, who are currently barred by Illinois law from seeking damages from negligent construction companies more than 10 years after they were exposed to asbestos.

State Senator Kwame Raoul recently sponsored legislation to change that by removing the time limit on lawsuits over mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

The House and Senate have both approved the measure, and if signed by the governor, it will become law, allowing victims of this deadly and preventable cancer to seek compensation for their medical expenses and their pain and suffering.

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