According to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over the past 20 years, the overall number of deaths due to mesothelioma has risen. Mesothelioma is a rare and life-threatening disease associated with asbestos exposure. Those with the highest risk of exposure include those working in construction, shipyards, or other industrial settings, but experts cannot be sure why there is still such a high incidence of the disease despite a sharp decline in asbestos production and usage in the United States over the last few decades.
The CDC reports that deaths from mesothelioma increased from 2,479 in 1999 to 2,597 in 2015. This is an increase of 4.8 percent. During that time, 16,914 deaths were among people aged 75 to 84 years. A surprising 682 people who died were between the ages of 25 and 44. Doctors at the CDC state that there is not enough information to understand the potential causes of death for people under 35 years of age. This is because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned most asbestos-related products in the early 1970’s.
Prior to that time, asbestos could be found in home insulation, in vehicle brakes, hair dryers and cigarette filters. When any of these objects are handled or damaged, tiny microscopic fibers can be released and enter the body, usually the lungs, triggering the disease. Mesothelioma can be particularly painful and victims frequently succumb to the disease within two years of diagnosis.
The director of the mesothelioma program at the University of Chicago stated that exposure to asbestos can happen in a number of places. Thus, it is difficult to determine exactly why people are still affected by the disease. Additionally, it can take between 20 and 50 years for the disease to manifest. This can make the root cause of the disease almost impossible to detect if the person was not known to work in construction or shipbuilding, two of the main worksites where people have traditionally been exposed to asbestos.
The CDC has determined that genes can play a factor in whether a person will develop the disease after being exposed to asbestos. Some people may be more susceptible and if a family member has mesothelioma, others in the family should be screened for infection. Protective gear can be worn to reduce the contraction of the disease. Some workers can wear this gear daily depending on their level of exposure to asbestos.
Although many people mistake mesothelioma as a disease reserved for the elderly and believe it could not happen to them if they did not work in an industrial setting, this new data shows otherwise. Mesothelioma can strike any person.
If you or someone you know has contracted mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease, contact the Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler today. Call us at 800-369-0899 or 215-569-4000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation in our Philadelphia office, where we assist clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.