Believe it or not, the battle continues with Asbestos exposure. It seems that the public has known for many years now that Asbestos exposure can cause health concerns, and it is linked to cancer. However, there are still places around the world that are dealing with Asbestos in buildings, cars, testing sites, railroads, roofs, and more.
With all of the knowledge that Asbestos is dangerous and damaging, why is it still used and present in so many places? Part of the reason may be because Asbestos was used for a long period of time when these things were being built or manufactured. Many of the buildings and such that contain Asbestos have been around for half a century or more.
It is true that Asbestos is still being mined and sold to some countries around the world. Unfortunately, this continues to happen because Asbestos is a cheap building and insulation material, and many underdeveloped countries cannot afford safer products. However, in a majority of the world, Asbestos is no longer being used.
In recent years, studies and research has shown that Asbestos exposure is the cause of Mesothelioma, which is an aggressive and severe cancer. This cancer begins in the mesothelium, which is the double lining that surrounds and forms a sack around most of our internal organs. Asbestos exposure causes tumors to form in the mesothelium, which most often starts around the lungs, heart, or intestines. Due to the aggressiveness of this cancer, the average time from diagnosis to death is usually 12 to 18 months.
Thus, with the severity and fast spreading nature of Mesothelioma, it is becoming more and more common to have Asbestos removed from places where people may become exposed to it. However, due to the danger of exposure, it is expensive to have it removed. Many places are beginning to make it mandatory to have Asbestos removed from public buildings. In fact, in some places housing codes are requiring that it is removed and properly disposed of before a home can be sold.
Nonetheless, even with all of the new regulations regarding Asbestos, over 2,500 new people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma in the United States each and every year. Treatment for the disease varies depending in the stage of the cancer. However, most first line treatments involve aggressive chemotherapy and surgical removal of the tumor, if possible.
There have been promising studies done regarding successful treatment of Mesothelioma, and in a couple cases, Orphan drug status has been granted. However, there is no current cure for this disease, and in many cases, the prognosis is not promising.