Who is at Risk?
Mesothelioma is a disease that threatens all of us. However, research and experience have shown that mesothelioma victims tend to be more numerous among certain groups of people, for example, those who have worked in construction or been in the military. The reason for this selectivity is asbestos.
Asbestos-related mesothelioma is most common among workers in trades that involve contact with asbestos products. However, anyone who works with or around asbestos is likely contaminated with it, and can carry the invisible fibers with them on their work clothes or body. For this reason, those who have regular physical contact with someone who works with or around asbestos runs the risk of developing asbestos-related mesothelioma themselves.
Asbestos is an environmental hazard as well. Although asbestos is no longer used as a building material, it remains an important industrial mineral that is used in many manufacturing processes, as well as in certain consumer products. Automobile brakes, for example, often contain asbestos linings. With wear, asbestos fibers are released as dust into the air we breathe.
Happily, despite the general public’s daily exposure to asbestos, mesolthelioma is an uncommon disease among otherwise healthy people. Those who bear the highest mesothelioma risk factors are workers engaged in trades where regular and prolonged contact with asbestos is a part of the job.
This includes construction workers, military personnel (active duty or veteran), pipefitters,shipyard workers,electricians, steamfitters, power plant workers, demolition and abatement workers, railroad workers, steel mill personnel, plumbers, maintenance workers, drywallers, plasterers, painters, teachers, and people in many other occupations – plus their family members. Residents in neighborhoods adjacent to factories and facilities where asbestos is used are also at increased risk.