Mesothelioma is a form of cancer primarily caused by exposure to asbestos. When these fibers break, they can be inhaled or ingested, becoming lodged into the tissue surrounding the organs. From there, fibers cause scarring, which leads to abnormal cells that can divide uncontrollably and result in tumors. These circumstances, and thereby the condition, are entirely preventable.
Asbestos is not dangerous until it is disturbed, and its fibers are released into the air. Many homes contain asbestos because it was often used as an insulator. In particular, asbestos was often used in the construction of a home’s attic, roof shingles, siding, floor tiles, piping, electrical wires, popcorn ceilings, and joint compounds. Knowing that, home renovations, and thereby asbestos, must be taken seriously when any of these areas are being disrupted. Preventing asbestos exposure in the home is possible, but it must be done with required hazardous precautions suggested by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
Historically, the dangers of asbestos were unknown to the majority of workers, and the dangers of asbestos caused them to fall ill. Today, the government regulates the amount of exposure that workers are legally allowed. OSHA has clearly defined the rules and regulations, mainly because of the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma. In general industries, employees may only be exposed to 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter (f/cc) in an eight hour time frame. Respirators and protective gear, including full body suits, gloves, foot coverings, and vented eye goggles, and all must be provided by the employer.
It is believed that during the early 20th century, employers knew of the dangers of asbestos but did not want to pay for the necessary protective gear for each employee. Presently, records need to be kept documenting the exposure levels, labels need be placed on all raw materials containing asbestos, and warning signs need to be posted at all entrances of regulated areas. Overall, the presence of asbestos cannot be denied in many existing buildings, so all the government can do now is regulate the ways in which it is handled.
Monitoring Mesothelioma Symptoms
For those people who worked with asbestos in the past without protective measures, preventing mesothelioma may seem like a lost cause. Nevertheless, if you have worked under such conditions, you must monitor your health with yearly checkups at your doctor’s office. Mesothelioma blood tests can be administered right there. Also, diagnostic imaging can measure how well the lungs work, which may indicate complications often associated with mesothelioma. Another method of prevention is refraining from smoking. Research shows that those individuals exposed to high and long-term levels of asbestos exposure that smoke regularly have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma.
Luckily, prevention of mesothelioma is possible. Understanding the dangers and how to stop them, combined with living a healthy lifestyle, has empowered those who come into contact with asbestos regularly. Thankfully, research and studies provide more information about how to handle asbestos correctly and prevent the illness it causes.