In March of this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that mesothelioma rates are on the rise. Despite a prediction that mesothelioma rates would decline after 2005, mesothelioma rates continue to rise. Between 1999 and 2015, mesothelioma rates rose from 2,479 to 2,597. A total of 45,221 individuals died of mesothelioma during that time. What is causing the rise?
Important facts about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma
Asbestos, a fire-resistant product created from mineral fibers, is the number one cause of mesothelioma. Here are the facts on asbestos exposure and mesothelioma:
- Mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. 80 percent of individuals can tie their development of mesothelioma to asbestos-exposure. It is believed that the remaining 20 percent were likely exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives.
- Mesothelioma is a ruthless form of cancer. The median life expectancy for individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma is 1 year.
- Individuals can develop mesothelioma anywhere from 20 years to 71 years after exposure.
Potential causes of increased mesothelioma rates
One of the theories behind the rise in mesothelioma rates is continued exposure. The CDC identified one likely source of exposure is demolition and renovation of structures containing asbestos. Prior to bans of asbestos use in many materials in home construction, asbestos was used frequently as insulation, in flooring, and other building products in an effort to minimize the risk of fire.
Asbestos is still being used
Many people mistakenly believe that asbestos is a thing of the past and is no longer being used because of its potential to cause cancer. People may be surprised to know that asbestos is still used in the manufacture of a number of products used in the marketplace today.
Current regulations permit the use of asbestos in products provided they contain less than 1 percent asbestos. These products include:
- Motor vehicle parts Asbestos is still used in brake pads and clutches
- Building materials Roofing shingles, home insulation and vinyl tile may still contain asbestos
- Potting soils Some potting soils still use asbestos
- Other uses Cement piping and corrugated sheeting
The risk of exposure remains and people should use care when handling these products.
In the event that you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to talk to an attorney who is experienced in handling asbestos exposure and mesothelioma cases as soon as possible to maximize your potential to recover.