Mesothelioma from Asbestos Exposure
The number one cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, which is the name given to a group of six naturally occurring minerals comprised of thin, flexible, needle-like fibers. Once valued for its strength, durability and resistance to heat, fire and corrosion, asbestos was used liberally throughout much of the 20th century, eventually finding its way into thousands of construction and industrial materials, like plaster, drywall and adhesives, and even household products, like talcum powder, hair dryers and spray insulation. Unfortunately, asbestos has since been linked to mesothelioma, asbestosis and other potentially life-threatening diseases occurring in those who were regularly exposed to the mineral at the height of its use.
When asbestos is disturbed, dust or microscopic fibers can be inhaled or ingested and become lodged in the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen. Over time, the asbestos fibers can cause inflammation and scarring, which can lead to mesothelioma and other serious asbestos-related illnesses. Exposure to asbestos occurred most frequently among workers in the construction, automotive, manufacturing and other industries who were regularly exposed to the mineral during the course of their employment, and many of these workers were subsequently diagnosed with mesothelioma. Another group being diagnosed with mesothelioma at an alarming rate consists of veterans or retired members of the U.S. military, who regularly handled products made with asbestos, worked on vehicles containing asbestos parts, and lived, ate and slept aboard ships constructed with asbestos materials.