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Risk Factors for Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer that occurs in the protective lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart.  The primary risk factor for developing mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.  Asbestos fibers can be swallowed or inhaled becoming lodged in the tissues that line the organs causing irritation, inflammation and cell damage.  This subsequently can lead to mesothelioma ten to 60 years after the initial exposure.

Factors that may increase an individuals’ risk of developing mesothelioma include:

  • History of an asbestos exposure:  Workers that have been regularly exposed to the hazardous material are at a higher risk for suffering from mesothelioma.  Because many older homes and buildings were constructed using asbestos-containing materials up until the 1970’s, property owners and homeowners are also at risk of exposure to asbestos when they take on a renovation or remodeling project in their dwellings.
  • Second Hand Exposure:  Spouses and children could suffer a secondary exposure when they came in direct contact with family members who carry asbestos fibers home with them on their clothes, hair and skin.  Fibers may become embedded in furniture if workers sit down or lay their clothes on a couch or bed.  Persons laundering the asbestos-laden clothes are especially susceptible to suffering a secondary asbestos exposure.
  • Proximity to Asbestos Mine or Plant: Residents living in adjacent neighborhoods to an asbestos mine or factories containing asbestos materials are at risk of an environmental exposure when asbestos fibers are released into the air.
  • Natural disasters:  Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires and tornados have the potential to expose many individuals to asbestos when buildings containing asbestos materials are damaged or torn apart releasing the toxic asbestos fibers into the air. In the aftermath of these devastating disasters, first responders, clean-up crews, rescue volunteers, and the residents of the affected communities face an increased risk of asbestos exposure from the circulating asbestos fibers in the air.
  • Smoking:  Smoking alone is not considered a risk factor for mesothelioma.  However, the combination of smoking and an asbestos exposure has been shown to greatly increase an individual’s risk for developing mesothelioma.

Other less common risk factors for mesothelioma:

  • SV40 Virus:  Some injectable polio vaccinations were contaminated with the SV 40 virus back in the 1950s and 1960s exposing as many as 30 million people.
  • Thorium Dioxide:  Thorium dioxide also known as Thorotrast was a chemical that was utilized in the past by doctors for some x-ray tests.
  • Erionite:  Erionite is a naturally occurring mineral that has similar properties to asbestos including being classified as a human carcinogen.  The fibrous mineral is typically found in volcanic ash, rock and soil in the western states of North America and a region in Turkey known as Central Anatolia.

Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler:  Philadelphia Asbestos Attorneys Fighting for the Rights of Mesothelioma Victims and Their Families

The asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler in Philadelphia have been successfully representing victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses for over 30 years.  We are dedicated to helping our clients achieve justice and the fair compensation to which they deserve.  If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos and has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call our experienced asbestos attorneys today at 215-569-4000 to schedule a free consultation or submit an online inquiry.

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