Causes of Mesothelioma

By: Rob Mellor

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer in the general population. However, in individuals that were exposed to asbestos, it is not as rare. Thatís because the only known, established cause of Mesothelioma is asbestos. There are experts that have speculated on other causes. There are incidences of Mesothelioma with no known asbestos exposure. However, that does not mean that there was no exposure. The right questions have to be asked. The person asking the question has to be familiar with the uses and applications of the asbestos products. There are many examples where inadequate occupational histories were taken and potential exposures were not investigated.

Asbestos the single largest cause.
Asbestos has actually been in use for centuries and has been the cause of a number of ailments and diseases, including the deadly cancer Mesothelioma. The word Asbestos literally means inextinguishable and this name was given to this mineral by the ancient Greeks. The Greeks gave it this name because of its amazing fireproof qualities, although they also noted the harmful effects that asbestos had upon workers.

What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is soft and flexible, and has been widely used for many years for a variety of things. The modern use for this mineral is for insulation, and it has been used in a wide range of items and structures, from ceilings and walls to toasters and hairdryers. This mineral became popular during the industrial revolution as an effective and safe form of insulation Ė safe in that it was fireproof, but certainly not safe in any other sense. Although the risks involved in using and working with asbestos had been observed several hundred years earlier, these risks were not taken into account when asbestos became widely used for insulation.

It was not until the 1900s that the facts regarding the risks involved to workers began to re-emerge. An English physician carried out a post-mortem on a man who had worked with asbestos for many years, and he found traces of fibers and dust in the manís lungs. The doctor stated that the man had died due to his exposure to this mineral. Over the next twenty or so years professionals in many countries began to notice the fact that disease, illness and death was uncommonly high amongst asbestos workers.

In the mid 1920s, an English doctor made the first diagnosis of asbestosis, and this was followed by a study, which showed that 25% of English asbestos workers showed signs of a related lung disease. Laws were then stepped up in England to provide better ventilation and more protection to workers who were regularly exposed to asbestos. Other countries slowly followed these steps over the next decade.

This protection was slow to be implemented and did not prove all that effective. Although asbestos manufacturers and companies that used the mineral were now aware of these studies and the risks involved to workers, they continued to use asbestos widely, exposing many workers to the hazards associated with it. These employees continued to work with asbestos, totally oblivious of the harm that it was capable of causing. Asbestos continued to be widely used until the mid-seventies, by which time many workers has been exposed and were already unknowingly affected by what we now know as Mesothelioma.

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Rob Mellors helps people find out about mesothelioma symptoms and mesothelioma causes

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