Asbestos and Mesothelioma Information and Resources

Mesothelioma is a grave health threat. According to the Mesothelioma Hope organization, “Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer that forms in the lining of the lungs or abdomen and is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. The survival rate for malignant mesothelioma is often low, and the average life expectancy is around 12-21 months.

What is Asbestos?

“Asbestos is the name given to six minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers that can be separated into thin, durable threads for use in commercial and industrial applications. These fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos has been used widely in many industries. Additional asbestos-like minerals are found in the natural environment, including erionite.

Asbestos has been mined and used commercially in North America since the late 1800s. Its use increased greatly during World War II. Since then, asbestos has been used in many industries. For example, the building and construction industries have used it for strengthening cement and plastics as well as for insulation, roofing, fireproofing, and sound absorption. The shipbuilding industry has used asbestos to insulate boilers, steam pipes, and hot water pipes. The automotive industry uses asbestos in vehicle brake shoes and clutch pads. Asbestos has also been used in ceiling and floor tiles; paints, coatings, and adhesives; and plastics. In addition, asbestos has been found in vermiculite-containing garden products and some talc-containing crayons.

In the late 1970s, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of asbestos in wallboard patching compounds and gas fireplaces because the asbestos fibers in these products could be released into the environment during use. In addition, manufacturers of electric hairdryers voluntarily stopped using asbestos in their products in 1979. In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all new uses of asbestos; however, uses developed before 1989 are still allowed. The EPA also established regulations that require school systems to inspect buildings for the presence of damaged asbestos and to eliminate or reduce asbestos exposure to occupants by removing the asbestos or encasing it.”

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Another great source about Asbestos and mesothelioma is They have a guide for How to Make Lung- and Asthma-Safe Cleaning Products (note that I personally don’t use borax because I have young children, but I use everything else on their list).

What is Mesothemioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer that grows in the protective linings covering various organs, called the mesothelium.

Quick Facts on Mesothelioma:

Only around 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.

The average life expectancy with treatment is 12-21 months.

The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure.

About 75% of all mesothelioma victims are male.

Mesothelioma most commonly develops in the linings of the lungs (pleura) or abdomen (peritoneum). In rare cases, mesothelioma tumors can grow in the linings of the heart (pericardium) or testes (tunica vaginalis).

Who is Most at Risk?

Anyone who has come into contact with asbestos may develop mesothelioma cancer, regardless of how or how often they were exposed. However, certain groups of people may have higher chances of getting mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. This includes people who had a high risk of workplace asbestos exposure.

Many industrial occupations put workers in direct contact with asbestos. High-risk jobs include construction work, shipbuilding, and automobile repair.

Asbestos was used widely by each branch of the military. According to the VA, U.S. veterans account for one out of every three people diagnosed with mesothelioma. One case is Camp Lejeune; Between the 1950s and late 1980s, individuals atU.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were exposed to toxic chemicals in their drinking water. These chemicals have been proven to cause cancer, congenital disabilities, and other serious health conditions. To file a claim, go to:

Asbestos fibers often clung to workers’ uniforms, hair, and tools. Because of this, asbestos fibers could be taken back to the workers’ homes, putting their family members at risk of exposure and mesothelioma later in life.

What is the Cause?

The only known mesothelioma cause is exposure to asbestos. From the 1930s to the early 1980s, blue-collar industries and the military widely used asbestos-based products without knowing the risks. Corporations that made and sold asbestos-containing products knew their goods could kill people, but they hid the truth, knowing they could make a huge profit selling asbestos products. In turn, many people developed mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

How Asbestos Fibers Cause Mesothelioma:

Exposure – When asbestos products are disturbed, the fibers may be inhaled or ingested.

Buildup – The asbestos fibers may then become lodged into various organ linings.

Damage – Once the fibers become stuck, they damage healthy tissue.

Cancer – In some cases, this tissue damage causes cancerous tumors to form. As of today, cancer researchers are still studying any risk factors other than asbestos exposure (if anything).

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Treatments for Mesothelioma:

Traditional treatments include chemotherapy and radiation. Here is a link and another for more information.

There are additional options for alternative and natural strategies.

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