Firefighters are working valiantly to save lives and property in the state of California, but health professionals observing the devastation are focusing on the future: will asbestos released into the air from burning structures lead to more mesothelioma diagnoses in the future?
Malignant mesothelioma is caused by ingesting or inhaling microscopic particles of asbestos. The disease is traditionally associated with occupational exposure, something that most Americans are able to avoid. But as the blaze rages on in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and buildings constructed with asbestos insulation and other components are completely destroyed, many are expressing concern about the long-term impact that airborne asbestos may have forty or fifty years down the road.
When homeowners are focused on their loss and poring through what’s left of their homes, they are not likely to worry about the health impact of the debris that they are sifting through or the dangers that the smoky air may pose. But previous disasters have proven that this lack of concern is a mistake, as seen in the countless people sickened following the collapse of the asbestos-contaminated World Trade Center buildings after 9/11.
There are concrete steps that families can take to guard against the dangers of breathing in asbestos-contaminated smoke and coming into contact with asbestos-contaminated soot and ash. The first step is to equip all family members with protection through a “N95,” “P95,” or “R95” mask. Unlike surgical masks or the types of masks that people use to protect themselves from viruses, this is the common type to protect against particles in smoke or ash, and are available at hardware stores and pharmacies. Those who are working to clean ash off of their properties are being warned not to use leaf blowers or any other device that would send dust into the air. Instead they should sweep or rake up debris, wearing protective clothing to cover their skin and make sure that all clothing is thoroughly washed, without shaking dust off.
Mesothelioma victims’ original exposure to asbestos comes from many sources. If your exposure was a result of somebody else’s negligence, contact us today for assistance. We can be reached at 1-800-966-2244.