Asbestos Exposure is a Continuing Risk to Public Health


A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that mesothelioma deaths per year increased approximately 4.8 percent between the 1999 to 2015 period. The annual mesothelioma deaths rose from 2,479 to 2,579 during the period.

Researchers believe that these deaths don’t account for many additional thousands of deaths from asbestos-related cancer of the lung. The effect of asbestos on human health is well documented. Exposure to asbestos may cause particles to lodge in the fluid-filled lung lining, resulting in a disease called mesothelioma. In addition, mesothelioma exposure can cause damage to primary lung tissue. Over time, asbestos exposure can result in lung cancer and other adverse health effects, including asbestosis, benign pleural effusion, pleural thickening, and pleural plaques may also occur.

Asbestos-Related Disease Symptoms

People who believe they’ve been exposed to asbestos fibers from a job-related source, through a secondary environmental source, or from contact with a family member who’s directly exposed to asbestos should tell his or her doctor about asbestos exposure history. Symptoms may be present, but many classic symptoms of an asbestos-related disease might not be apparent for years after exposure to asbestos. Contact the doctor immediately if one or more symptoms develop, including:

• Wheezing or difficulty in breathing
• A persistent cough that doesn’t go away and worsens over time
• Blood in phlegm or fluid expectorated from the lungs
• Tightening of the chest, chest pain
• Difficulty in swallowing
• Facial or neck swelling
• Poor appetite
• Weight loss
• Anemia or fatigue

Asbestos-Related Deaths

The CDC study showed that most asbestos-related deaths occurred in people over the age of 85 years. However, younger people died from diseases caused by asbestos as well. More than 680 people between the ages of 24 to 44 died in the CDC asbestos study.
It is important to note that most mesothelioma deaths occur because of the latency period of asbestos-related diseases.

Doctors believe that the latency period ranges from a minimum of 10 years up to a maximum of 50 years after asbestos exposure. Since many younger people died of asbestos exposure, medical researchers believe that many new cases of asbestos-related diseases will continue into the future. Asbestos is still a major public health problem.

Asbestos Regulation

Both OSHA and EPA have attempted to regulate asbestos use in the U.S.: the use of asbestos has decreased over the decades. Today, much of the continued exposure happens when construction workers or chemical manufacturing engineers and others are exposed to asbestos. Research shows that many older individuals who encountered primary asbestos exposure in the past have mesothelioma and related diseases today. Younger individuals may have received secondary exposure to asbestos from the environment or living with another person with direct exposure.

CDC’s asbestos report is a reminder of the continued risks of asbestos exposure. It’s probable that the numbers of individuals affected by exposure are underestimated. If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos, either through primary or secondary exposure, contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney to discuss your options for compensation. We fight for clients’ rights in seeking just compensation after exposure to asbestos.