Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lives of 3,000 families each year in the United States. In Philadelphia and New Jersey, rates of pleural mesothelioma are much higher than elsewhere. This leads many to wonder what is their risk of a diagnosis.
To be clear, asbestos has been traced to at least 80 percent of mesothelioma cases, but there can be other causes. These include toxic exposure, polio vaccines, and exposure to radiation. In addition, mesothelioma is not restricted to the lungs, though it does account for nearly 90 percent of cases. Other very rare forms include testicular, pericardial, and peritoneal cancers.
As explained previously on this site, Pennsylvania and New Jersey experience a higher than average rate of mesothelioma.
Because asbestos is a heat-resistant fiber it is used heavily in industries where high levels of heat must be controlled. The material is commonly used in boilers and ovens, in gaskets and linings, and anywhere friction can cause a buildup of heat. Pennsylvania is steel country and the industry is one of the leading users of asbestos. Machine setters, furnace operators, casters, millwrights, and welders are among those most likely to contract mesothelioma from the substance.
Aside from steel and related-production mills, oil refineries use large amounts of asbestos. Shipyards likewise are common locations for asbestos exposure, but it should be noted that any building constructed prior to 1980 likely has asbestos somewhere within.
In Philadelphia alone, 1,085 businesses have been identified as places where known asbestos exposure has occurred. These businesses employ a large percentage of the city population and every employee is at risk of contracting mesothelioma. Pittsburgh as well has 586 jobsites where exposure has occurred, Allentown another 62, and Erie 49.
In New Jersey, Trenton has 114 companies where known asbestos-exposure has occurred, Jersey City has 103, Camden 78, and Patterson 63, to name a few. In fact, nearly every city in the state has businesses where workers can expect to be exposed to this deadly substance at some point in their career. Some locations include schools, which means that non-employees are also at risk.
The point of these figures is not to frighten, but to inform. For over a century, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been leaders of industry. Asbestos has been used in these industries because it is the most effective material found yet to contain heat. Although there is debate about whether the substance can be safely used, one fact cannot be ignored: Businesses overlooked safety measures which resulted in exposure.
Three decades of helping families cope with the devastating financial and emotional toll of mesothelioma in Pennsylvania and New Jersey has taught us one important lesson: no amount of exposure to asbestos is safe. When this material is present, the risk of developing mesothelioma increases for every employee or customer entering the facility. Philadelphia and the surrounding communities have a higher than average risk of mesothelioma than other places. This is fact. Another fact is that when faced with this cancer, you need help. If you live in Philadelphia County, Chester County, Delaware County, New Jersey, or the surrounding communities and have contracted mesothelioma, we can help. Call the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler at 800-369-0899 or contact us online now.