When something increases your chances of getting a disease, it is called a risk factor. There are many risk factors involved with many of the illnesses that people develop. In this case, there are risk factors for developing mesothelioma cancer. It is important that you understand your risks to be able to help reduce your chances.
Asbestos exposure is by far the highest risk factor. Studies have shown that about 80 percent of the people diagnosed with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that at one time was used in many materials, including cement, shingles for a roof, insulation, and other construction materials. Those who worked with materials containing asbestos breathed in or swallowed the fibers and exposed themselves. They could also carry the fibers on their clothes and expose others in their houses to asbestos. A material that contains asbestos does not pose a risk if it remains intact. Once the product is disturbed in some ways, it releases the fibers into the air.
There are some workers at a higher risk for exposure if they worked as a miner, factory worker, insulation installer or manufacturer, railroad worker, shipbuilder, or gas mask manufacturer. If you live in an older home, you can be at a greater risk. If you spent a lot of time in older buildings, you may also be at risk for exposure. You must work directly on a regular basis with asbestos to have a higher chance of developing mesothelioma.
When someone has had exposure to asbestos and that person also smokes, they could be at a higher risk for lung cancers. If you have been exposed to radiation, you could be at risk for mesothelioma. A small percentage of people that developed mesothelioma inherited it due to a mutation of a gene.
The World Trade Center was attacked on September 11th, and tons and tons of asbestos were released into the air. Many people, including rescue workers, residents that lived close by, and others that helped with clean up inhaled asbestos. Some people have seen the impacts of the exposure. The long-term implications of that exposure will not be known for many years. If you believe you or someone you love was exposed to asbestos and want to know what options you have, you may want to find a law firm that can help you answer some of your questions.