Mesothelioma epidemiology shows that Mesothelioma
is more common in men. It is a rare malignant
cancer of the linings of the lungs, heart and
abdomen. Mesothelioma is usually caused by
airborne microscopic asbestos fibers becoming lodged
in the lungs, throat or other organs.
Mesothelioma is a slowly forming cancer. In
studies of asbestos mine workers, it appears that
diagnosis and death from the disease can take 20 years
or longer after initial exposure to the asbestos
Asbestos is actually a naturally occurring mineral
that is made up of thread like fibers that can be
woven. It was widely used in products such as
insulation, brake linings, roof shingles and textiles.
During processing and working with asbestos products
tiny fibers can become airborne and breathed into the
lungs or swallowed. Such exposure increases the
risk of contracting lung cancer, asbestosis, and
cancer of the larynx in addition to Mesothelioma.
The risks of contracting Mesothelioma increase
substantially in smokers exposed to airborne asbestos
Asbestos has been mined for over 100 years.
Early epidemiological research linked asbestos fiber
exposure to lesions in the respiratory tract and other
health risks but little was done to protect workers.
After 1940 the mining and use of asbestos became
widespread and millions of workers were exposed to
asbestos dust. It wasn't until decades later
that larger numbers of workers began to contract
Mesothelioma and the absolute connection to asbestos
dust exposure was made. During that time mining
companies and manufacturers became more liable for
health related problems of their workers that were
caused by on-the-job conditions.
Today the workplace
must comply with the U.S. Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) standards for the safety
and health of workers and their working environment.
OSHA has set limits on the level of asbestos exposure
is allowed in the workplace and what protective
equipment must be worn and protective procedures taken
by workers in danger of exposure.
Asbestos minors and factory workers are not the
only ones exposed to the risks of asbestos dust.
Those working to remove asbestos insulation or working
in areas previously insulated with asbestos are at
risk as are family members of those workers who may
carry the dust into their homes on their clothing or
Some Mesothelioma Epidemiologists raise concerns
over asbestos that has entered our water and food
systems over the years. However, most feel the
levels of asbestos fibers in those systems are low
enough not to present a danger to the general