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Author: Bryon Friedman

Mesothelioma is a difficult disease to track on a global level. This is because it can be elusive to some medical professionals with less-advanced resources and because there is often a lack of data, among other reasons. Although the true risks of asbestos exposure may be difficult to precisely pinpoint, Italian researchers are suggesting there is strong evidence that mesothelioma rates are increasing in many different countries.

The study – published in the Indian Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine – was conducted by researchers from the Center for the Study of Environmental Cancer in Italy. It is centered on data of mesothelioma rates in Europe, Oceania, and parts of Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

According to researchers, the following countries reported the highest rates of mesothelioma (based on available data):

United Kingdom
The Netherlands
Malta
Belgium
Australia
New Zealand
All of these countries, except New Zealand, have prohibited the use of asbestos. Other countries that have banned asbestos, including the U.S. and several European nations, have seen intermediate mesothelioma rates. Researchers noted that a lack of data from larger countries that have not banned asbestos – Russia, China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil – makes precise findings about incidence rates on a global level difficult.

Ultimately, the researchers suggest that global asbestos consumption rates in the past decades may predict that mesothelioma rates will be on the rise and will impact larger geographical areas. They also factor in mesothelioma’s long latency period – 15 – 60 years – in suggesting the rise in mesothelioma rates.

According to a report published in a Danish medical journal, certain home repairs can pose mesothelioma risks. The study – completed by researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Slagelse, Denmark – based the study of published cases involving patients diagnosed with mesothelioma.

According to the study, both patients were found to have been exposed to asbestos while doing roof repairs. Each of the patients, who were homeowners, reported drilling and cutting into roof sheeting. Because the homes were manufactured prior to the 1980s, before the asbestos-containing materials were largely abandoned in construction, the roof sheeting contained asbestos. Neither of the patients had worked professions that posed risks of asbestos exposure.

The study highlights the risks of non-occupational asbestos exposure, especially for homeowners who perform do-it-yourself repairs or renovations in older homes. During these projects, homeowners can expose themselves to dust and harmful asbestos fibers when they cut, sand, drill, or disturb structures and products containing the material.

Researchers noted that the risks are more concerning for older individuals who performed home repairs in homes built before the 1980s. Current homeowners in older homes – especially those built during the 1930s to the 1960s – can also be exposed to asbestos. The most common home materials that may contain asbestos include:

Cement blocks
Floor and ceiling tiles
Roof shingles/sheeting
Wall paints and joint compounds
Insulation
Asbestos was widely used in home construction, as it was valued for its durability, low cost, and resistance to fire. Once the link between asbestos and mesothelioma became widely accepted, the construction industry abandoned the use of asbestos. Because the risk may still exist in older homes, experts recommend that homeowners who suspect that their homes may contain asbestos contact an abatement professional before doing any work themselves.

Nemeroff Law Firm fights for victims of asbestos exposure, no matter where the exposure occurred. If you have questions about non-occupational exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma, and your rights, contact our firm for a free case evaluation.

Today, asbestos is known largely as an outdated and dangerous substance. For most people, asbestos was the material used for insulation in homes, roofs on old buildings, and in a number of other industrial ways. Although asbestos fibers are certainly the harmful material we’ve all come to know, they are also naturally occurring minerals which, according to some geologists and experts, can be quite dangerous in their natural form.

Asbestos minerals exist in deposits across the United States, with the highest concentrations in the Western part of the country. Geologists and other scientists are concerned that naturally occurring asbestos deposits can pose a risk to nearby residents. In places like Libby, Montana, for example, which is home to a former asbestos-contaminated vermiculite mine, one out of five of the residents were diagnosed with asbestos-related lung disease.

In Nevada, geologists are questioning whether asbestos deposits in the state – which are unmined – could be harming local residents. However, scientists have received some opposition from the state’s health department, which restricted access to the state cancer registry after an epidemiologist conducted a preliminary analysis and found an unusual number of mesothelioma cases. The health department also reported the results of their own analysis, finding that the asbestos deposits posed no danger.

Ultimately, we know that asbestos fibers are dangerous and the cause of many tragic diseases, including mesothelioma. With the help of scientific studies and statistics, we also know that naturally occurring asbestos is more common than most may think – and that there appears to be a correlation between deposits and rates of mesothelioma. Given the risks involved, experts and government agencies should be working together to find answers, not be gridlocked in debate.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health have recently discovered 21 new cases of malignant mesothelioma among workers in the state’s Iron Range. The affected individuals were taconite workers in the region, located in the northeastern part of Minnesota.

Researchers made the discovery while conducting a study of over 69,000 iron ore mine workers. State health officials and University of Minnesota researchers’ findings now bring the total to 101 confirmed cases. Only three men are still alive.

The study, which analyzes workers employed before 1982, has found the following:

Mesothelioma rates among iron mine workers was 2.4 times higher than the general population
Iron ore workers also displayed signs of other respiratory diseases, including lung cancer
Researchers suspect taconite may be a factor in mesothelioma diagnoses
State health officials commissioned University researchers to help conduct the study after people throughout the state publicly shared their stories of mesothelioma and lung disease among former iron workers. According to officials, new cases of mesothelioma highlight the long latency period between asbestos exposure and a diagnosis – which can take as long as 20-60 years.

At the Nemeroff Law Firm, we routinely represent individuals and families who were exposed to asbestos as part of their occupations. If you have questions about mesothelioma, your rights, and how our legal team may be able to help you recover compensation, contact our legal team for a free case review.

It is well accepted in the medical community – and well documented by evidence – that both smoking and asbestos cause damage to the lungs. According to a recent article, there are some interesting relationships between smoking and asbestos exposure.

The article discusses two studies that analyzed whether people who smoked and were chronically exposed to asbestos at work faced higher risks of lung cancer:

One study from Great Britain analyzed the records of over 98,000 people who were chronically exposed to asbestos on the job from 1971 to 2005. During the study, 12% of the workers died as a result of lung cancer. After grouping workers according to their rates of exposure and smoking habits, researchers found that smokers had the highest rates of lung cancer – regardless of their asbestos-exposure levels. Workers who never smoked had the lowest levels of lung cancer. Researchers concluded that an estimated 26% of lung cancer deaths were caused – at least in part – by an interaction of asbestos and smoking.
A second study reviewed the medical records and lung health of over 2,300 workers in the insulation industry – manufacturing, installation, and removal – from 1981 through 2008. Researchers ultimately found that asbestos exposure increased the risk of lung cancer by 5.2-fold, smoking by 10.3, and both exposure and smoking by 28.4. Researchers also found that workers who had been in their positions for at least 10 years and quit smoking reduced their risk of lung cancer by half.
Both studies suggest that chronic asbestos exposure and smoking combined can substantially increase risks of lung cancer. It also suggests that quitting smoking may benefit workers who have been chronically exposed to asbestos fibers.

Given the prevalence of smoking during the time when asbestos was most widely used, our legal team at the Nemeroff Law Firm has seen and handled many cases involving smokers who were also chronically exposed to asbestos, many times while on the job. Their smoking habits, however, did not detract from the fact that asbestos is a harmful material and that they have legal rights to be fairly compensated for resulting damages associated with mesothelioma.

If you have questions about mesothelioma, your rights, or the rights of a loved one, contact our firm today for a FREE case review.

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