It is easy enough to prepare against illness by taking vitamins, sanitizing surfaces, and washing your hands. But what if there is something that is easily undetected that could be in products you use every day or in places you’re meant to feel at ease in, like your home? Though asbestos is a known carcinogen, most uses of it are not banned in the United States. In fact, only a handful of asbestos products are banned under the Toxic Substances Control Act, such as corrugate, specialty, commercial paper, rollboard, and flooring felt (EPA). Exposure to asbestos can lead to three serious diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma, which is a “a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest and the abdomen and heart” (EPA). While there has been some legislation put forward in recent years that strengthens the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to put restrictions in place on products that may negatively affect the public’s health, there has still been an increase in malignant mesothelioma cases among women from 1999 to 2020.
Increased Deaths in Women
According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the number of annual deaths of women caused by mesothelioma has increased from 489 in 1999 to 614 in 2020 (CDC). Mesothelioma is a condition that can lie dormant for decades before manifesting symptoms, with the median interval between exposure and death being 32 years. Unfortunately, once an initial diagnosis is made, most patients are expected to only live for a year more. Most cases of asbestos exposure are reported by men working in the construction industry, and though women are also at risk for asbestos exposure, “limited data exist on longer-term trends in mesothelioma deaths among women” (CDC). Of the cases analyzed for this study, there were three occupations held by these women that had a high enough number of deaths: homemakers, elementary and middle school teachers, and registered nurses.
As shown by this study, the women who are dying from mesothelioma are not working in the industries most at-risk for asbestos exposure, like shipbuilding, construction, and manufacturing, but the number of women dying from malignant mesothelioma is still rising. This is because second-hand exposure to asbestos can still lead to a development of mesothelioma. Women can be exposed to asbestos if it has been disturbed through renovations maintenance or by stirring up settled fibers by dusting, sweeping, or cleaning. There can also be exposure simply by working or living in an older building where asbestos has been used in its building materials. Another huge risk factor for exposure for women is having a family member who works in at-risk industries. The relative risk for women increases tenfold when they have a husband or father who works in an asbestos-related industry. For example, there have been two asbestos-related trials in South Carolina since the Fall of last year, with the most recent concerning a woman who had developed mesothelioma due to her husband, father, and uncle being exposed to asbestos and then spending time around her (Courtroom View Network). This trial was ruled in her favor, and she received monetary compensation for the damages.
Reducing Your Risk
Though it is difficult to know when you have been exposed to asbestos, there are ways that you can reduce exposure (Asbestos Prevention). When outside, wet the ground before gardening or playing, drive slowly down unpaved roads, use asbestos-free soil, stay on paved trails in areas that may have asbestos-containing soil, and avoid old building sites. When indoors, prevent dust and dirt from entering your home by wiping down pets, using a doormat, removing shoes before entering, and keeping windows closed on windy days or when there is construction nearby. It is also important to clean properly by using wet rags to dust, washing rugs often, using a wet mop on non-carpeted floors, and using a vacuum with a high efficiency HEPA filter. These simple changes can help reduce your risk of asbestos exposure and help put your mind at ease.
The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Representing the Injured and Mesothelioma Victims in South Carolina
The Law Offices of David L. Hood and co-counsel have been fighting for the rights of injured mesothelioma victims (and their families) in North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Georgetown, Charleston and all across South Carolina for over 30 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we’ve represented thousands of disabled & injured workers working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve. If you or a family member has suffered from primary or secondary exposure to Mesothelioma or just have questions about a possible case, let us know. We’re here to help.
To learn more about what we can do for you and to get answers to your questions, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you.
To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.
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