Many people do not realize this, but scientific research is beginning to prove that early exposure to toxins increases the risk of cancers and other potential hazards later in life. The same holds true with Asbestos exposure and the development of the cancer Mesothelioma.
Almost all of us have seen the commercials of the toddler in the back seat with mommy smoking in the front seat. The windows are up and the child is inhaling the dangerous second hand smoke, with captions about how dangerous second hand smoke is to children. However, there do not seem to be any commercials of young children standing outside a building filled with Asbestos or a young child walking into an Asbestos mine.
Yet, the implications are the same. Young bodies that are still developing are at higher risk of becoming ill from exposure to toxins than adults are. Asbestos is extremely dangerous to anybody who is exposed without the proper safety equipment. However, the lungs, heart, intestines, organs, and mesothelium of a child are still developing. The cells are still growing and multiplying, and the risk of damage from exposure to toxins is much higher than it is in adults.
A study that took place in Australia followed 2,400 people who were regularly exposed to Asbestos under the age of 15. The study followed people who lived in an Asbestos mining town during their childhood. The results of the study showed that of the over 2,400 people who were followed, 217 people were suffering from some form of Asbestos related cancer and another 218 people had died.
Mesothelioma was not the only form of cancer that affected the people involved in the study. Other forms of cancer that the study participants suffered from included breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and brain cancer in women. Men suffered from a variety of cancers including Mesothelioma, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, leukemia, and brain cancer. Other conditions that were elevated in both males and females included nervous system diseases and heart disease.
There are similar studies taking place at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Adults who grew up in Libby, Montana, between 1950 and 1999 are being evaluated for damage caused by Asbestos exposure early in life. Libby, Montana, is home to vermiculite mine that produced Asbestos. The study is evaluating over 13,000 participants who grew up around the mine. It is being funded by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, (ATSDR). They are also funding a study of 600 children who lived in Libby and participated in a lung study in 2000 and 2001, but were not old enough to have chest x-rays done at the time of the study.
As research continues to be collected, it is becoming more and more evident that early exposure to toxins causes severe and long-lasting damage to developing bodies. The case seems to be true with Asbestos exposure and cancer, as well.