Mesothelioma and Asbestos

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Mesothelioma Epidemiology

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 fibers.

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 fibers.

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 bodies.

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 population.

 

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Facts of Law covering the epidemiology of mesothelioma

Facts of Law Mesothelioma Epidemiology