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Understanding the link between asbestos and mesothelioma

Before 1977, both private residences and public buildings were frequently constructed in ways that utilized asbestos among their building materials. Since that time, asbestos has generally been outlawed as both a building material and as a material used in the production of numerous consumer and industrial products. However, construction workers, demolition workers and a number of other workers still come in contact with this material for a variety of reasons.

When workers are exposed to job sites that may contain asbestos, employers are supposed to outfit them with proper safety gear. Failure to guard against toxic exposure to asbestos can lead to a number of disastrous consequences, including the development of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a specific and relatively rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It develops in the lungs over a period of many years. This lengthy development period can be both a blessing and a true curse, as many workers ultimately do not recognize the signs of mesothelioma once they begin to manifest, simply because it has been so long since they were exposed to asbestos.

Once mesothelioma has developed, there is no way of curing it. Similarly, treating this condition can be truly difficult. It is therefore imperative that employers adequately protect their workers from exposure to asbestos and that workers take these protections and precautionary measures very seriously while they are on the job. What many workers may not understand is that even single, short-term exposures to asbestos may ultimately result in the development of mesothelioma.

Source: KSL, “How asbestos exposure leads to mesothelioma,” Suzanne Carlile, Sep. 15, 2014

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