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What Exactly Puts People at Risk for Mesothelioma?

by Robert Linebaugh

Mesothelioma is a very serious disease. One of the reasons it is so serious is that many people do not know what puts them at risk for mesothelioma. The basic risk of getting mesothelioma has to do with asbestos exposure. Asbestos is very common in many things and therefore it is not very difficult to be exposed to it.

The first cause is exposure to asbestos through one's occupation. This is very common in several different occupations. People who work in shipbuilding trades, asbestos mining and milling, the manufacturing of asbestos products (such as textiles), insulation work in construction and building, and brake repair are at risk. There are also many other occupations that involve asbestos exposure. Men are often associated with higher mesothelioma risk because many of the asbestos-related jobs are often held by men.

Smoking increases the risk for mesothelioma tenfold. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lungs, and the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the lungs beyond repair. When cigarette smoke is coupled with asbestos, the risks for developing mesothelioma and other lung cancers are increased greatly. Persons who smoke should make every effort to stop smoking in order to protect their lungs.

Environmental exposure to asbestos can also increase the risk of developing mesothelioma. Persons who live in neighborhoods near asbestos milling or manufacturing plants should be aware of the potential risk factors. Vermiculite, which is a non-asbestos mineral silicate, was mined at Libby Montana. It was later found to be heavily contaminated with asbestos. Many children played in the vermiculite slag heaps that were located throughout the town. These children later developed mesothelioma. There are 28 sites throughout the USA that received Libby mine vermiculite that have been selected for a community-wide evaluation of asbestos disease.

Another risk of developing mesothelioma is using products that contain asbestos. Asbestos is in a very large number of consumer products, including many that are used today. Products such as electric blankets, heat guns, curling irons, molding clays, deep fryers, slow cookers, frying pans, dry wall patch, fake fireplace logs, dry wall patch, and pipe wrap insulation could put one at risk. There are also many other products that contain, or have had exposure to, asbestos. There are many asbestos-containing products that have been banned by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Unfortunately, there are still products that contain asbestos. It is a good idea to avoid using these products if possible, in order to reduce the risk of mesothelioma.


About the Author

Robert Linebaugh writes about mesothelioma.

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