The Connection Between Asbestos and Mesothelioma

February 11, 2022 5:41 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Asbestos and mesothelioma are two of those words that many people have heard of but don’t quite fully understand.

This post will cover everything you need to know about asbestos and some mesothelioma risk factors.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of six naturally-occurring fibrous materials known for their heat resistance, strength and versatility. It was commonly used in insulation materials for decades until we discovered that it’s a dangerous carcinogen that causes all sorts of respiratory issues. The substance has been illegal in the U.S. since the 1980s, but it’s still common in many older buildings.

While the dangers of asbestos shouldn’t be understated, it’s important to note that asbestos is only dangerous once the material breaks down and the fibers are released into the air.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of organ tissue in the lungs, abdomen or heart called the mesothelium. Unfortunately, malignant mesothelioma is fast acting, and the life expectancy for most people diagnosed with this cancer is only about 12 months. Like other forms of cancer, the best forms of treatment are surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.

Mesothelioma causes

The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. There’s a dose-response relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma, meaning the risk of developing this cancer increases with each exposure to the material. The only good news is this is a rare cancer, and only 8 to 13 percent of people exposed to asbestos eventually develop mesothelioma.

Who is at risk for mesothelioma?

Anyone who’s ever been exposed to asbestos is technically in the risk group for developing mesothelioma, but the majority of patients are construction workers, factory workers, auto mechanics and military members who were unknowingly exposed to it for decades while at work. It’s also possible for their family members to develop mesothelioma from second-hand asbestos exposure, but this is rare.

Is it time to have your home tested for asbestos?

There’s no reason to run around your house and panic about the dangers of asbestos because it’s not a dangerous substance when it’s intact. Asbestos testing should be performed before major renovations that require knocking down walls or any demolition projects. The asbestos test will confirm whether or not there is asbestos in the building that’ll need to be removed.

What to do if asbestos is found

As we just mentioned, asbestos needs to be removed ASAP if it’s found during the test. During the abatement process, licensed professionals wearing protective equipment use hand tools or specialized vacuums to take out the material and place it in waste-disposal bags designed with a protective lining.

After all the asbestos has been removed, the house or building should be retested to ensure all of the asbestos is gone.

If you’re about to perform any type of demolition or home improvement project, be sure to hire our pros at HealthSafe Inspections, Inc. for asbestos testing. Along with accurate testing, we’re the go-to team for asbestos removal. Contact us today to get a quote or to learn more about mesothelioma risk factors.

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