Even though the use of asbestos has decreased, a recent report published by the CDC revealed some concerning information. It looked at annual mesothelioma death rates for females from 1999 to 2020 and showed an increase of 25 percent. The study showed that 12,227 women died from mesothelioma. Yet, in 1999, 489 women died, and in 2020, 614 women died from mesothelioma.
Most of the women were white and non-Hispanic females aged 55 years old and older, and most of the reported mesothelioma types were pericardial, peritoneal, and pleural mesothelioma. Only women 25 years old and older were included in the study.
The number of mesothelioma-related deaths in males decreased slightly from 1,990 in 1999 to 1,981 in 2020. Historically, the cancer was found primarily in men who worked in labor industries, like construction, shipyards, and manufacturing. The CDC study showed that social assistance and health care was the leading industry group and had 15.7 percent of the deaths, followed by registered nurses (4.9 percent) and school teachers (5.6 percent). Many of the women who succumbed to the disease were also homemakers. The higher numbers of women could be due to more women being in the workforce and more people renovating older homes.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer. The majority of cases involve the tissue that surrounds the lungs; this is known as pleural mesothelioma. Other rarer forms can affect the abdomen, heart, or testicles. Asbestos fibers get lodged in the mesothelium, and the body develops tumors. Women might be more vulnerable to pleural mesothelioma because they have smaller lungs. The CDC estimated an average interval of 32 years between exposure to asbestos and death from mesothelioma.
Asbestos can also cause asbestosis. Early symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath from minimal exertion, hypertension, and regular, consistent tiredness.
Those with mesothelioma may have chest pain, unexplained weight loss, and a constant cough lasting more than three weeks.
Unfortunately, both diseases can take many years to develop.
Asbestos is still found at construction sites and in older homes and buildings. The best way to protect yourself is to wear a dust mask and respirator when working with it or near it; all protective gear should be designed specifically for this purpose.
Also, be sure to shower and launder your clothes after exposure. If you live in a home built before 2000 and are planning renovations, be sure to take the proper precautions before starting any work; those working in older buildings should inquire about the possibility of the presence of asbestos.
The State of Pennsylvania ranks third for asbestosis and mesothelioma deaths. The primary industries that present the most risk include construction, shipbuilding, manufacturing, mining, chemical processing, oil refining, power generation, and teaching. Asbestos was used in school construction throughout the state. About 11 in Philadelphia were closed for remediation in the 2019 to 2020 school year. There are also 37 asbestos deposits in the eastern and southeastern regions of Pennsylvania, and four mines were operating there in the early 1900s for mining amphibole asbestos fibers.
In addition, asbestos products were used in construction and many industrial job sites, plants, and factories. Ambler, Pennsylvania was known as the asbestos manufacturing capital of the world for an extended period of time. Two sites there contaminated the town, and many residents were diagnosed with mesothelioma. Other job sites in New Castle and Ellwood City, Pennsylvania also showed dangerous levels of asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma patients usually face different treatments like surgeries, radiation, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. These can improve a patient’s prognosis and life expectancy, but there is no cure for mesothelioma.
The State of Pennsylvania regulates asbestos handling to protect workers and the public from exposure and follows EPA standards. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulates asbestos removal, collection, transport, and disposal but not from private residences unless they are in apartment buildings that house at least five units. Get in touch with your borough or township to see if local regulations might apply if you live in one.
If the mesothelioma is caused by corporate negligence, patients can be entitled to financial compensation to pay for their treatment, clinical trials, medications, and caregiver services. The increasing number of women diagnosed with mesothelioma underscores the importance of staying alert for symptoms. An experienced lawyer can be your best chance of building a solid case if you have the disease and are seeking compensation.
Being diagnosed with a devastating illness like mesothelioma is a life-changing event. If you are having problems from a legal standpoint, one of our dedicated and skilled Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler can help. Call us at 215-569-4000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.