Could a Common Industrial Chemical Cause Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that occurs as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers. The fibers cause scarring in the lungs that, over decades, can develop into mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly cancer that is often not diagnosed until it has spread. Thousands of victims who suffer from mesothelioma have already obtained compensation from asbestos manufacturers and those who were responsible for their exposure. bubble-wrap-864927-m.jpg

Unfortunately, while asbestos is responsible for the majority of mesothelioma cases, there are also other risks that workers face. Understanding what causes mesothelioma is essential so that people who are exposed to substances that cause cancer can be properly compensated. An experienced Boston mesothelioma lawyer should be consulted by victims or surviving family members of those who are diagnosed with this type of cancer.

Industrial Chemical and Mesothelioma Risk

Recently, researchers from the National Institutes of Health published a report entitled Gene Expressions of Mesothelioma in Vinylidene Chloride-exposed F344/N Rats Reveal Immune Dysfunction, Tissue Damage, and Inflammation Pathways. The report was released to share the results of a two-year study that was conducted as part of a National Toxicology Program. The goal of the program is to understand the cancer risks associated with certain chemicals that people are likely to be exposed to.

One of the chemicals that was part of the study is called vinylidene chloride (VDC). VDC is used to produce polyvinyl chloride copolymers. These are used in a variety of very common products that people use every day including plastic wraps like Saran Wrap as well as packaging material, adhesive products and coatings.

The research involved assessing how rats responded to exposure to chemicals. Among the rats exposed to VDC, there was a “marked increase in malignant mesothelioma.” In other words, researchers were able to determine that exposure to this chemical could make a rat much more likely to develop mesothelioma.

Noticing the rise in mesothelioma rates, researchers tried to determine why rats exposed to VDC were getting more malignant tumors. The cells of the tumors were collected from the rats and compared with mesothelioma cells from rats that had not been exposed to VDC. The mesothelioma cells had some common characteristics; however, the rats exposed to the VDC showed a greater tendency to have dysfunctional immune systems and also had more inflammation.

The data suggests that the chronic pro-inflammatory environment in the body that VDC exposure causes could result in disturbances in cell cycle regulation, oncogene and growth factor. This, in turn, can lead to mesothelioma.

Although asbestos is responsible for causing about 80 percent of cases of mesothelioma that develop each year, VDC exposure may account for a portion of the remaining 20 percent of cases. Since about 2,500 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every single year, a significant portion of the population may be endangered by VDC exposure. Those who are harmed will need to determine the cause of their mesothelioma so they can take appropriate legal action.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

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