Initially, asbestos was used almost everywhere in the United States. It is a mineral that naturally exists in the form of fibers and is resistant to water, heat, electricity and chemicals as well.
Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was included in commercial, household and construction products.
These products are as follows: bricks, cement and concrete, roofing, flooring, paints, gaskets, pipes and fireproof coatings. Also, asbestos exists in gloves, mattresses, rubber, plastics and electrical appliances.
Working with products that involve asbestos also puts your health at high risk. Exposure to asbestos is known to cause mesothelioma and other serious diseases.
Types of Mesothelioma
The different types of mesothelioma depend on the location where cancer develops. For instance, when it forms in the pleural lining around the lungs, it’s called malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is responsible for almost 20% of mesothelioma cases. Compared to pleural mesothelioma, there is less information available on peritoneal mesothelioma.
The pericardial mesothelioma is extremely rare. About 200 cases are reported in medical studies. With the help of surgery, patients get to live for years beyond the average six-month life expectancy.
Risk Factors of Mesothelioma
When you say risk factor, it is something that increases the chance of developing a disease.
About 90% of mesothelioma cases are involved with being exposed to asbestos. However, there are other risk factors that might lead to a mesothelioma diagnosis.
- Poor health
Top Five At-Risk Jobs for Exposure to Asbestos
- Construction Worker
- Home renovators and demolition personnel are at risk of being exposed to asbestos.
- Flooring and roofing materials are still made up of asbestos. This also puts current workers on projects at risk of exposure.
- Industrial Worker
- Industrial workers are among the most at risk of being exposed to asbestos in the industry.
- Workers include trade laborers, mechanics, chemical workers, foremen and machine operators.
- Industrial insulators may be exposed to asbestos through fireproofing, textiles, paper and insulation.
- Asbestos is used to make protective fire-fighting equipment such as boots and helmets.
- Fire destroys asbestos, making asbestos fibers become airborne.
- Shipyard Worker
- Almost 30 percent of mesothelioma lawsuits have been filed by government shipyard workers and veterans.
- Power Plant Worker
- Research studies show that nearly 33 percent of power plant workers encountered asbestos in mucus particles.
- Common causes of asbestos exposure were heat-resistant products.
Ways to Secure Yourself From Dangerous Exposure at Work
Staying safe and healthy is important especially when you’re at your workplace. Regardless of what your job is, it is important to avoid the risks of injury and illness at your workplace.
Here are just some helpful tips to secure yourself from dangerous exposure at work:
- Understand the risks. Once you get to know your job’s specific hazards, you may take measures to reduce the risk of injury or illness in your workplace.
- Reduce the workplace stress. Typical causes such as heavy workload, long hours, conflicts with employers or coworkers, and job insecurity. Stress might lead to sleep difficulties, depression and problems with concentrating.
- Take breaks once in a while. Staying alert will help you avoid from having burnouts and injuries. During the day, focus on the core tasks so that your concentration is at its best.
- Whenever possible, use mechanical aids. Instead of carrying or trying to lift a heavy object, use a conveyor belt, forklift, or wheelbarrow.
- Talk over to your concerns. Either your employer or Human Resources manager need to be informed about risks and hazards. Legally, your employee is obliged to make sure that employees are working in a safe workplace environment.
- Know your rights. There are unions and organizations that may provide you advice and information on workplace safety measures.
Avoiding from being exposed to asbestos is the most efficient way to prevent mesothelioma. However, asbestos is not yet prohibited in the United States.
For the sake of public safety, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has placed regulations and policies in asbestos.
Although it is still a work in progress, past uses of asbestos continue to pose health risks.
If you feel that an individual is exposed to asbestos, they should consult with their doctor and check for any signs and symptoms of mesothelioma, such as chest pain, weight loss, and difficulty in breathing.
Unfortunately, it is hard to see exposure because signs of mesothelioma shows once exposure has taken place.