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The Gravity of Mesothelioma Risk Factors

The Basics of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure

Mesothelioma, a rare but aggressive form of cancer, primarily stems from asbestos exposure. This disease targets the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testes. Although asbestos is the primary culprit, not everyone exposed develops mesothelioma, and some cases even arise from other sources. The insidious nature of this disease is evident in its long latency period – it often appears 20 to 60 years after initial exposure. Thus, despite today’s restrained use of asbestos, a significant number of people remain at risk. Asbestos, a naturally occurring fiber present in various minerals, was widely utilized for its insulation and fireproofing abilities. When airborne, due to reasons like building renovations or mining, its thin fibers become a severe health hazard. Consequently, individuals working in industries like shipbuilding or in close proximity to asbestos materials have heightened risks. Even limited encounters, such as DIY home projects or studying in an asbestos-laden classroom, enhance the chances of developing mesothelioma.

Occupational and Secondhand Exposure Concerns

Various industries have extensively used asbestos over the years, leading to increased occupational exposure for professions like construction workers, shipbuilders, and firefighters. While asbestos usage has decreased in the U.S., those interacting with older products, such as old building materials or military equipment, remain at risk. Beyond direct occupational exposure, secondhand contact also poses a threat. Family members can unwittingly become exposed to asbestos carried home on clothing, shoes, or tools from work sites. A simple act, like doing laundry or a child embracing a parent returning from work, might expose individuals to this hazardous material. Environmental asbestos exposure is another concern, particularly near mining sites or areas with natural asbestos deposits that can be disturbed.

Other Influencing Factors and Vulnerable Populations

The risk isn’t uniform for all. Men, due to more prevalent occupational exposure, are more susceptible than women, although women face dangers from secondary exposure or asbestos-contaminated talc in products like talcum powder. Age also plays a role, with risks amplifying over time due to mesothelioma’s prolonged development period after exposure. Moreover, genetic predispositions, such as mutations in the BAP1 gene, can elevate an individual’s risk. On a more collective scale, veterans and military personnel, due to extensive historical asbestos use in the military, account for a staggering 30% of new mesothelioma claims. Meanwhile, residents living near asbestos mines or hobbyists indulging in DIY projects might face unexpected exposure and consequently, increased risks.

Mitigating Risks and Early Detection

Though one can’t alter past asbestos exposure, there are measures to prevent future risks. Adhering to guidelines, using protective equipment, and undergoing proper asbestos safety training can significantly mitigate occupational exposure risks. Homeowners should also be cautious; homes constructed before the 1980s may contain asbestos materials. Lastly, for those with known asbestos exposure, early diagnosis is paramount.

Here at the Halpern Law Firm, we are here for victims of mesothelioma. We want to make sure that all victims of mesothelioma get the compensation they deserve. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and are interested in receiving compensation, call 800-505-6000 for a free case evaluation today. We are available 24/7.

Sources:

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet

https://oem.bmj.com/content/58/3/145

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=34&contentid=19389-1

https://www.osha.gov/asbestos/hazards

https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA3507.pdf

Written By Jeff Nelson

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