Though researchers from the Department of Pathology at Ramatahibodi Hospital in Thailand did not set out to conduct a study on malignant mesothelioma, their findings are still extremely important for those who seek a greater understanding of how the rare and fatal form of cancer forms in the body. The researchers, who worked collaboratively with scientists from the Academy of Science of The Royal Society of Thailand, conducted autopsies on 200 recently deceased Thai residents and concluded that almost 50% of all of the country’s residents have at least traces of asbestos in their lungs.
Asbestos is a material that has been used all around the world ever since its strength and insulating abilities were identified, but that all changed when it was determined to be the carcinogen behind malignant mesothelioma, as well as asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and other serious diseases. Since the mid 1970s its use has been curtailed in the United States, but even in Thailand, which has banned various types of asbestos, it continues to be used for the manufacture of brake and clutch pads, as well as in the production of wall and roof tiles. The researchers set out to evaluate how much of an impact that asbestos use is having on both occupational and environmental exposure and on the amount of asbestos found in Thai residents’ lungs.
To conduct the study, the group looked at lung tissue in 200 people without any distinction on age, gender, occupation or cause of death. They found that 97 of the bodies that were examined had the toxin in their lungs: this 48.5% representation was significantly higher than a previous study of the Thai population conducted in 1985, which indicated that asbestos was in the lungs of just 33% of the population.
One of the conclusions that the group reached is of particular interest to those who study malignant mesothelioma: they indicate that the fibers accumulate in the lungs whether the country “has currently used or completely banned asbestos. This result may be due to insufficient clearance of fiber accumulate in the lung regardless of fiber type.” In other words, once an asbestos fiber is inhaled, it is almost impossible for it to clear out of the body. This makes it all the more essential that those who are tasked with protecting us from the deadly carcinogen do so responsibly.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and subsequently have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it may have been the result of negligence. For information about your rights, contact us at 1-800-966-2244