Sunday, November 15, 2009


Mesothelioma And The Health Risks Of Asbestos

Asbestos has been in use since the mythological era of Ancient Greece, but asbestos can be a modern-day killer. Widely used for fireproof insulation purposes in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, asbestos has since been found to cause the deadly cancer mesothelioma along with other lung conditions.

Occupational Exposure and Dangers To Workers

After noticing that chronic diseases, especially cancers of the lung such as mesothelioma, were extremely common in construction workers who were exposed to asbestos, doctors began making a connection between asbestos and mesothelioma. Unfortunately, construction and other workers who were exposed to asbestos from the 1950s through the 1970s, when the dangers of asbestos were more fully recognized, are still suffering from the ill effects of asbestos exposure at work. There are now laws and regulations in place that are designed to prevent workers from exposure to toxic asbestos; however, these laws cannot undo years upon years of exposure to this deadly mineral in the workplace.

Delayed Diagnosis Due To Long Dormancy Period

Workers may have been exposed to asbestos in the 1970s, but may only just now be developing the tell-tale symptoms of mesothelioma. This is because the disease is slow to manifest, which challenges doctors struggling to diagnose and treat mesothelioma patients in time. Because its symptoms take so long to manifest and often align themselves with those of other diseases, mesothelioma in

workers may be misdiagnosed as pneumonia or other diseases during its early stages.

Mesothelioma Symptoms

Symptoms of mesothelioma can include:

A shortness of breath, abdominal swelling, pain of the abdomen, blood clotting problems, chest pain, chronic cough, heart palpitations, fever, labored breath, and weight loss.

Pleural, peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma are all possible variations of the deadly cancer, with pleural (lung) mesothelioma the most commonly manifested version of the disease.

High-Risk Professions

Though the use of asbestos is now regulated by laws and regulations, the disease's long dormancy period means that it still has a high number of potential victims. Professions at a high risk for asbestos exposure and mesothelioma are those which involved repeated exposure to asbestos in its industrial forms.

These professions include:

Electricians, painters, insulators, carpenters, bricklayers, construction, workers, mechanics, and other tradespeople, especially those who were involved with commercial or home construction before the 1970s.

The families of these workers were also at risk, since they may have inhaled or ingested asbestos through the employee's clothing or hair.

Legal Options

Because of the huge number of potentially affected workers, there has been a significant amount of mesothelioma litigation against companies who irresponsibly used asbestos, exposing their workers to the threat of mesothelioma and other life-threatening asbestos-related illnesses. If you are suffering the ill effects of asbestos exposure, talk to your doctor and determine a reasonable treatment plan.