Up until a few months ago, mesothelioma was something that most people had only heard of from attorney’s ads on television. They thought that it couldn’t happen to them. But the rare and deadly form of cancer has been very much in the news recently, as people have reported having been sickened by trusted household items like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, and a steam pipe explosion in a busy section of New York City spread asbestos particles into the air and may have contaminated nearby buildings. The renewed attention has many people wondering exactly what their risk level is, and what they should do if they have been exposed to asbestos.
The concern about mesothelioma is very real for anybody who has been exposed to asbestos. The material is carcinogenic, which is why the Fire Department of New York has made decontamination sites available to anybody who may have come into contact with fallout from last week’s explosion. Asbestos is still in place in many buildings and pieces of infrastructure that were built before 1980, before its use was largely stopped. The greatest risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases comes from long-term exposure and exposure at heavy concentrations. The biggest problem comes from inhaling or ingesting the particles, which have pointy ends that can easily become embedded in the lining of the lungs. When that happens, the particles can cause cell death that later leads to genetic changes and illness. According to Jacque Fontaine, a thoracic surgeon and section head of the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center at Moffitt Cancer Center, “We don’t know the exact amount of asbestos exposure that is safe versus not safe. We just know that repeated significant exposure puts you at a much higher risk.”
Many people have been exposed to asbestos without their knowledge. This is especially true of many workers whose employers used supplies or equipment that were contaminated with the carcinogenic material. If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, we can help, whether you know where your exposure came from or not. For information, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.