Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos that affects the lining of the lungs and chest wall. Mesothelioma frequently occurs in people who mine asbestos, produce products from asbestos, work with and use products made with or that contain asbestos, live with asbestos workers, or work in buildings containing asbestos.
A mesothelioma diagnosis is an overwhelming and devastating experience. Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and incurable type of cancer caused only by exposure to asbestos. Approximately 1.3 million employees in construction and general industry have faced significant asbestos exposure at some point on the job.
WHAT IS ASBESTOS?
The term “asbestos” refers to a number of naturally occurring mineral fibers. These fibers are strong, durable, poor conductors of electricity, and heat resistant. Because of these properties, asbestos was widely used in manufacturing and construction through the mid-1970s. Although the use of asbestos was first regulated in the 1970s by the U.S. government, its use continued in asbestos cement products, automotive brakes, and gaskets into the 1990s.
Asbestos has been used in consumer products, such as:
- Baby powder and talcum powder
- Cigarette filters
- Hair dryers
- Crock pots
- Coffee pots
- Popcorn poppers
- Potting soil
Most asbestos exposure victims are industrial and construction workers, but asbestos fibers can travel home on workers’ clothing and affect family members as well. Children and spouses of industrial workers can develop mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis from exposure in the household. This is known as secondhand, take-home, or household exposure.
Who Is at Risk?
- MILITARY PERSONNEL
- METAL WORKERS
- CHEMICAL PLANT WORKERS
- SHIPYARD WORKERS
- SHEET METAL WORKERS
- POWER PLANT WORKERS
- OIL REFINERY WORKERS
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, claiming more lives each year than breast, ovarian, colon, and prostate cancers combined. As many assume, smoking – both direct and secondhand – is the major cause of lung cancers. Lung cancer is actually increasing among people who have never smoked, however. Asbestos is a main driver of lung cancer, among smokers and nonsmokers alike.
Whether from asbestos, cigarette smoke or radon exposure, carcinogens that enter the lungs change the tissue almost immediately. Initially, the body is able to repair the damage naturally, but with repeated exposure, normal cells are chronically damaged, which eventually enables cancer cells to develop and spread.
Those exposed to radon in the workplace may be particularly confused about their lung cancer diagnosis, and have many questions about how and why they were exposed. Other chemicals known to cause cancer include: arsenic, asbestos, chromium, and nickel.
SUFFERING FROM OTHER INJURIES?
Chemical & Toxic Exposure
Decades of industrial activity left their mark hidden in the soil and air. When allowed to come in contact with the human body, serious and often deadly consequences result.