It’s been over forty years since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed that exposure to asbestos is dangerous for humans, and can lead to a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, asbestos, asbestos-related cancers, and other dread illnesses. In that amount of time, the use of asbestos has been cut back in the United States and completely banned in other developed countries. Tens of thousands of people have died, and scientists have spent countless hours trying to get a better understanding of how asbestos affects the body. Despite great strides in medical knowledge there is still an enormous amount that remains to be discovered, including whether – once exposed to asbestos – a person’s risk of mesothelioma ever diminishes. According to a recent Italian study, though some risks never go away, the risk of pleural mesothelioma stabilizes and may even diminish forty years after exposure to asbestos.
One of the best ways to gauge the impact of mesothelioma is to look back at those whose battles have already been lost. That is exactly what researchers from the University of Eastern Piedmont in Italy chose to do recently as that country struggles with the aftermath of having been one of the world’s largest users of asbestos prior to banning it in 1992. The group reviewed data gathered between 1970 and 2010 in 43 separate studies of asbestos-exposed workers. Of the 51,801 individuals whose data had been collected, 43 percent had died, and there was a known cause of death in 95 percent of those.
What the team found was that there were many different asbestos-related diseases whose risk of diagnosis following exposure to asbestos never diminished: these included asbestosis and bladder cancer. They also confirmed previous theories finding no link between asbestos exposure that an increased risk of death from an assortment of other cancers, including larynx, digestive tract and pharynx. Between it came to pleural mesothelioma, which is the most common form of the disease, they found that the risk factor stopped increasing at the forty year point, and that in some cases the risk of diagnosis actually diminished after forty years.
Though this represents a glimmer of hope for those exposed to asbestos, it is just that – only a glimmer. The risk never goes away, and those who have already been diagnosed with the rare disease face a grim prognosis. If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and need information about your rights and options, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.