Mesothelioma Deaths Still Increasing, New York Attorney Says
Joseph W. Belluck, a lawyer with NY’s Belluck & Fox, says thousands of annual deaths will be linked to deadly asbestos fibers for decades to come.
New York, NY, December 17, 2009 — The upcoming year 2010 will bring another increase in deaths from malignant mesothelioma, a cancer closely associated with asbestos exposure, a New York personal injury lawyer says.
“A lot of people don’t realize that the number of cases of mesothelioma is still on the increase,” said Joseph W. Belluck, a partner in Belluck & Fox, a New York personal injury law firm that concentrates in representing victims of asbestos-related disease. “These deaths are tragic and ongoing. Unfortunately, even today, people are still being exposed to this cancer-causing material, and we will still see hundreds or thousands of asbestos-related deaths each year for decades to come.”
A 2009 analysis by federal health researchers at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that the annual number of deaths of malignant mesothelioma is still increasing. The mortality report found the number of U.S. deaths increased from 2,482 in 1999 to 2,705 in 2005, the most recent year of complete data.
The use of asbestos was sharply curtailed in the United States starting in the 1970s. But the mineral fiber was widely used for much of the 20th century, particularly in construction materials, insulation and plumbing. The disease typically appears 20 years to 40 years after people are first exposed to asbestos. That is why the death toll from the disease is still on the rise.
New cases reflect the legacy of decades of asbestos use and even today researchers estimate 1.3 million construction and general industry workers are exposed to asbestos dust, Belluck said.
Houses and buildings throughout the U.S. still have large amounts of asbestos insulation and other materials that will eventually have to be removed when the buildings are remodeled or demolished.
“The workers who conduct the asbestos removal risk getting the disease if proper precautions aren’t followed to protect them from inhaling the dust,” Belluck said. “Thousands of other workers are exposed to dust because of asbestos fibers that are present in the workplace.”
Researchers project the disease will remain above background levels until 2050.