MESOTHELIOMA CAUSE – ASBESTOS EXPOSURE THE MAIN CAUSE

MESOTHELIOMA CAUSE – ASBESTOS EXPOSURE THE MAIN CAUSE

Exposure to asbestos fibers has been strongly linked with the development of mesothelioma. At some point in our lives, most of us have been exposed to asbestos in the air we breathe and the water we drink; from natural deposits in the earth, and from the deterioration of asbestos products around us. Most of us, however, do not become ill as a result of our exposure.

 More commonly, those who are eventually diagnosed with asbestos related disease, have worked in jobs where more sustained chronic exposure occurred over longer periods of time. However, lesser exposure to asbestos has been linked with the development of some cases of mesothelioma affecting family members of workers who came into contact with asbestos and brought it home on their clothing, skin or hair, or affecting those who lived in close proximity to asbestos manufacturing facilities. Symptoms of asbestos disease usually are usually not obvious until decades after exposure.

Asbestos was used commercially in North America as early as the late 1800s, but its use increased dramatically during the World War II era when shipyards produced massive numbers of ships for the war effort. Since that time, asbestos-containing products were used by the construction and building trades, the automotive industry and the manufacturing industry. All told, more than 5,000 products contained asbestos.

For more than 50 years, products containing asbestos remained unregulated, and the manufacturers of those products continued to prosper, knowing full well that many of the millions of workers who came into contact with their products would ultimately suffer as the result of their actions. Finally, in the late 1970s, the Consumer Products Safety Commission banned the use of asbestos in wallboard patching compounds and artificial ash for gas fireplaces because the fiber could easily be released during use. In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency banned all new use of asbestos, but uses established prior to that time were still allowed. Although increase in public awareness about the dangers of asbestos and public concern over the issue has led to a decline in domestic consumption over the years, a total ban on asbestos has not yet been implemented. Asbestos is still imported, still used and still very dangerous.

Although it is suggested that the number of mesothelioma cases in the U.S. has reached its peak and has begun to drop, a forecast released by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER), in April, 2003, projected the total number of American male mesothelioma cases from 2003-2054 to be approximately 71,000. This number


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