Naturally occurring and both heat- and flame-resistant, asbestos was once widely used in residential, commercial, and industrial construction. Unfortunately, although this material provides enduring results in numerous applications, it’s also deadly. As asbestos ages and degrades, this mineral releases tiny fibers that lodge themselves in the airways and organs. Mesothelioma is but one of several illnesses that asbestos exposure is known to cause. Read on to find out what mesothelioma is and how you can avoid it.
Mesothelioma Is a Cancer That Affects the Body’s Mesothelial Tissue
Mesothelioma is asbestos-related cancer that affects the mesothelial tissue in the lungs and abdominal cavity. Mesothelial tissue is a single layer of highly specialized cells that create a pavement-like barrier between the body’s internal organs and serous cavities, and outside invaders. This protective layer is both non-adhesive and slippery.
The tiny fibers or fibrous particulates that are released from asbestos are capable of penetrating this barrier. Whether inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers can lodge in the airways, lungs, or stomach where they’ll eventually cause tumors to develop. Most cases of mesothelioma are the result of occupational asbestos exposure. Military veterans, construction workers, shipbuilders, plumbers, and those working in factories, mines, and insulation manufacturing facilities have notably high rates of both occupational asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.
However, mesothelioma can also occur in individuals who’ve never worked in any of these environments before, and who may have never been exposed to asbestos at all. For instance, mesothelioma is also associated with radiation exposure, including the controlled radiation exposure that is frequently used as part of cancer treatment.
The Importance of Wearing Personal Protective Equipment at All Times
When working in high-risk environments, it’s important to always wear all recommended forms of personal protective equipment (PPE). If your employer does not require or provide PPE in a high-risk setting, you have the legal right to refuse duties that may place you at risk of asbestos exposure until the necessary safety measures have been taken. Moreover, if you currently have mesothelioma due to occupational asbestos exposure and were supplied with insufficient protective gear, you should contact a mesothelioma lawyer in Kentucky. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical costs, your pain and suffering, and your lost wages and loss of livelihood among other things.
Report Unsafe Working Conditions
Speaking with managers or company owners about unsafe working conditions isn’t always comfortable. Fortunately, you can report unsafe working conditions to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA establishes and enforces health and safety standards, and it can assist with site reviews, training, and other actions and resources.
Never Disturb Asbestos
Despite being downright deadly, asbestos that is present in siding, ceilings, or other building structures is often harmless if left completely alone. Unfortunately, occupational asbestos exposure isn’t the only asbestos-related cause of mesothelioma. Homeowners who attempt to renovate older properties by themselves face the risk of cutting into building materials and releasing harmful asbestos fibers unknowingly. If you own an older home and intend to remodel it, hire an asbestos testing and mitigation company first. Trained professionals can identify and remove or contain any asbestos in the building before your work gets underway.
Not everyone who’s exposed to asbestos will develop mesothelioma or other exposure-related illnesses. Smoking tobacco products is a major risk factor for mesothelioma. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos or believe that you have, starting a smoking cessation program is a good idea. When smoking and asbestos exposure are combined, the risk of several lung cancers is greatly increased.
Scheduling Professional Asbestos Removal Is a Proactive Way to Protect Human Health
When aging asbestos is identified in the home or the workplace, removing it is sometimes the best choice. In certain environments, the progressive drying and aging of this material can result in the release of airborne fibers even if asbestos isn’t physically disturbed. For residential property owners, paying to have asbestos professionally removed is an effective way to improve the value, marketability, and all-around habitability of homes. For business owners, eliminating non-necessary asbestos structures and asbestos-containing materials will instantly create a safer work environment and higher levels of employee morale.
Although common in certain occupational environments, both asbestos exposure and mesothelioma may be preventable. With the right measure of caution and the right protective gear, it is often possible to limit the likelihood of this cancer.
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