Asbestos Exposure Information
Asbestos is a known carcinogen and has been shown to cause not only mesothelioma, but lung cancer, asbestos and other respiratory diseases. Close to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States.
While the use of asbestos has been curbed in the United States since the late 1970s, the incidence of mesothelioma has been increasing in the United States and worldwide in recent decades.
The risk of developing mesothelioma corresponds to how much asbestos a person was exposed to and how long the asbestos exposure lasted. However, even small amounts of asbestos and infrequent exposure create a risk for contracting mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.
Mesothelioma has an extended latency period and may strike 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was used in many workplaces and in the military, and many victims can trace their exposure to their jobs or military service. Many industries used asbestos, a cheap, durable mineral fiber, in a wide array of building materials, automotive and industrial products, coatings, and insulation materials.
The workers most at-risk for mesothelioma are trade workers such as insulators, plumbers and pipefitters, electricians, sheet metal workers, auto mechanics, refinery and factory workers and shipyard workers. The World Health Organization estimates that asbestos causes approximately half of all deaths from occupational cancer, and 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos in the workplace.
Since there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, it is important to be aware of asbestos sources and to avoid exposure to all asbestos fibers.