The leading cause of mesothelioma is exposure to the mineral known as asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring product that for centuries was used as a fire retardant, insulating product, used in boilers, and in the manufacturing of many products. These products can be found in the home and workplace.
Global Asbestos Awareness Week is April 1st – 7th, 2016. Asbestos is still imported into the United States. Last year an estimated 4 million metric tons were imported. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen. Asbestos related diseases caused an estimated 300 deaths a day around the world.
According to the World Health Organization:
- All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans
- Exposure to asbestos causes cancer of the lung, larynx and ovaries, and also mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure is also responsible for other diseases such as asbestosis, plaques, thickening and effusion in the pleura.
- Currently about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos in the workplace.
- According to the most recent WHO estimates, more than 107,000 people die each year from asbestos related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis resulting from exposure at work.
- Approximately half the deaths from occupational cancer are estimated to be caused by asbestos.
- All the asbestos imported into the United States comes from Brazil. Russia is the largest producer of asbestos. China is second and Brazil is third.
- The users of asbestos in the United States are the chlorine- alkali industry, used in making of chlorine and sodium hydroxide, accounting for around 57% of the mineral. The remaining approximately 41% is used in roofing products.
- Only 52 countries have banned asbestos- the United States is NOT one of them.
- Co-exposure to tobacco smoke and asbestos fibers substantially increase the risk for lung cancer- and the heavier the smoking the greater the risk.
- The countries that are the largest consumers of asbestos products are Russia, China, India and Brazil.
In the United States the organization that is dedicated to being the voice of the asbestos victim is the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization- ADAO-. ADAO is a non-profit that is dedicated to preventing and eliminating asbestos- caused diseases. Linda Reinstein is the founder of ADAO. Linda lost her husband to mesothelioma. During this week ADAO has scheduled activities to increase awareness and knowledge of asbestos in 2016. www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org
Victims of mesothelioma and their families know first hand what the devastating effect of asbestos exposure can do to the health of their loved one. This week spread awareness to the dangers of Asbestos.
Eleanor B. Ericson, RN