Asbestos and its exposure – USA and World Scenario

Mesothelioma - Asbestos exposure

Once considered a wonder metal Asbestos has been used in various applications for many years, particularly in building and construction. The article will provide you with detailed information on Asbestos that causes Mesothelioma cancer. Asbestos refers to six heat-and fire-resistant, naturally occurring fibrous minerals that are Chrysotile, Amosite, Crocidolite, Anthophyllite, Tremolite and Actinolite.

Different Types of Asbestos Exposure

Exposure of asbestos can occur to anyone, and it can often go unnoticed for many years. This is due to the fact that the signs of asbestos exposure may take decades to first appear on the exposed individual.

Exposure in the workplace is the most common, the risk of exposure to asbestos may be higher in some occupations in comparison to others depending on the field in which workers are employed.

Although asbestos is most commonly found on particular locations due to professional use, people may also be contaminated in homes from household products or from weakened asbestos present in open places where care is not taken to dispose-off the same.

The most important thing to note here is, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) there is no safe level of exposure from Asbestos. This means that a small amount of exposure from Asbestos also has probability of developing cancer in the person exposed.

Occupational Exposure

Many industrial and commercial workplace workers and maintenance contractors are exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos while on the job. Workers are often exposed to asbestos-containing materials due to the high-heat environments of sites such as steel mills, breweries, power plants and oil refineries, even in industries that are no longer actively relying on the mineral, which lead to breakdown of material and creation of fibers.

Despite knowing the dangers, hundreds of companies across these and other industries have used asbestos for decades. Historical records indicate that many companies were aware of the risks of contamination, but they continued to use asbestos in operations and services as it was affordable.

Research has shown that every year at least 125 million workers are still exposed to asbestos at work worldwide. Occupational exposure to asbestos is one of mesothelioma’s most common causes, accounting for 70% of all mesothelioma deaths.

Military Exposure

Asbestos has been used across all military branches, most notably in military ship construction, in vehicles and aircraft, and even across military bases. Asbestos exposure is almost unavoidable for millions of military personnel due to the widespread use of asbestos in confined spaces of many military vessels.

Product Exposure

Consumer goods such as hair dryers and crock pots often contained asbestos regularly. Asbestos is also frequently used by companies in manufacturing insulation and siding. The companies thus risk the health of consumers by using the material so frequently in the consumers products.

Although regulations are in place today to discontinue the use of asbestos in many of these goods, some products such as insulation may still contain as much as 1% of asbestos.

Talc Exposure

Talc is a natural mineral that is generally considered safe, but when it is contaminated with asbestos, it can pose hazards. Because talc and asbestos deposits occur naturally in similar areas, when mining, talc can easily become contaminated with asbestos fibers, which can eventually lead to talcum powder products.

Goods such as cosmetics and baby powder are now being screened for asbestos, but for years workers and consumers may have been exposed, whether by digging or adding topical products containing asbestos to the skin. Although many cases of talcum powder cancer have affected users who have developed ovarian cancer, there are also reports of mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Secondary Exposure

Occupational sensitivity not only impacts workers, but it also has the ability to spread to members of their family and others. Secondary exposure accounts for about 20 percent of mesothelioma cases and happens when people working in asbestos-contaminated areas put on their clothing, skin or hair asbestos fibers back.

Fibers may bind to fabrics and hair, rendering them transferable to individuals who may not otherwise have been exposed. As a result of indirect exposure, women are often the victims of asbestos-related disease, as they were usually less likely to be on the job sites in the past.

Asbestos Exposure in the United States

Use of asbestos has been widespread worldwide. Many states, such as California, have high levels of natural reserves of asbestos. Some countries, including New York, have high mesothelioma levels because asbestos use is known to exist in various sectors and job sites. Read more about how asbestos is impacting the government.

Click to get the list of locations across United States with exposure to Asbestos.

By – Karen – Health Blog Expert (Contributing Author)

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