The link between exposure to asbestos and the development of cancer has been long-established and it is clear that when asbestos fibers are breathed, they can cause mesothelioma. Unfortunately, new research shows that even very low levels of exposure to asbestos can trigger the damage to the lining of the lungs that causes mesothelioma.
The study was published in the Journal of Occupation and Environmental Medicine and it involved reviewing data from more than 60,000 men that was collected as part of the Netherlands Cohort Study. The men whose data was reviewed were Norwegian men between the ages of 55 and 69. The researchers took a careful look at the job history of each of the 58,279 men who were involved in the study and compared the work background of the men to the different occupations where workers were routinely exposed to asbestos. The researchers also compared the levels of asbestos exposure among the men surveyed to the rate at which the men developed mesothelioma and other cancers such as lung cancer.
Our Boston mesothelioma lawyers know that the study revealed that even being exposed to lower asbestos amounts could still trigger cancers. Unfortunately, this means that there is a great risk of asbestos-related complications even for individuals who were barely exposed to the material. Workers who encountered asbestos on the job, even briefly, are at risk as a result of these new findings, as are individuals such as spouses who lived with someone who worked around asbestos products and who may have brought fibers home on clothing.
Low-Level Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma
The recent study on asbestos exposure involved following up with the 58,279 men for 17.3 years. Over this period of time, there were 132 cases of mesothelioma, 166 cases of laryngeal cancer and 2,324 cases of lung cancer. Mesothelioma, lung adenocarcinoma and glottis cancer were all associated with higher levels of exposure to asbestos, with mesothelioma considered the most deadly of the cancers linked to asbestos.
The researchers also determined that “asbestos levels encountered at the lower end of the exposure distribution may be associated with an increased risk of pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer and laryngeal cancer,” based on their comparison of asbestos-linked cancers and jobs where asbestos exposure occurred.
The new research provided additional confirmation for the EPA’s long-held position that all levels of exposure to asbestos are potentially risky. The EPA guidelines are strict when it comes to disposing of asbestos and handling of materials containing asbestos precisely because it takes very little exposure to the deadly fibers to cause cancer to develop.
When asbestos exposure does occur and cancer results, it is important to determine where the exposure occurred so that the victims suffering from the cancer can pursue a claim for compensation from the asbestos manufacturer or from funds set up to compensate victims. Pinpointing the specific cause of exposure can become more difficult for individuals who were exposed to low-levels of asbestos in the home or in jobs on the low-end of the exposure distribution where the link between the work environment and asbestos is less clear.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Lawmakers Try to Limit the Rights of Asbestos Victims, Dec. 4, 2013, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog