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What does mesothelioma have to do with disaster survival?
My first introduction to mesothelioma was through television commercials. It seems there are endless advertisements starting with, “if you or someone you love” and moving on to, “call for more information.” Long lists of possible candidate characteristics go zipping up the screen: “shipbuilding, coal mining, oil refining, plumbing,” and on and on. What was tying them all together? What is mesothelioma and how does one disease get around to so many different places? I found the answer in the cause: asbestos.
Asbestos is really what has gotten around. Through the last century asbestos was spread though all of America and much of the world in everything from ship engine insulation to residential ceiling tiles. Any nation seeking to build its industries in the 1900s was mining, buying or selling asbestos. Asbestos was so heavily used in the US alone, it earned the nickname ‘backbone of American industry.’ Today, however, any nation that has handled asbestos is counting cases of malignant mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a cancer. The more common of two mesothelioma types, pleural mesothelioma, is specific to abdominal cavity lining, most often found in protective lung tissue called the mesothelium. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects lining of other organs such as the heart or diaphragm and is much less common. Both types of mesothelioma are characterized by long latency periods typically ranging from twenty to fifty years. This makes mesothelioma hard to diagnose. Making it even harder, are the symptoms that mimic pneumonia or bronchitis. Mesothelioma is regularly misdiagnosed and treated as a passing virus. Sadly, after decades of quiet development, mesothelioma enters its last and most aggressive stages. By the time it is properly diagnosed, mesothelioma life expectancy is short and grim.
So, why do I share this on Doug Copp’s blog? What does mesothelioma have to do with surviving disasters? Again, the answer is asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says this about asbestos: “Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber, once widely used in building materials and products for its thermal insulating properties and fire resistance. Intact, undisturbed asbestos-containing materials generally do not pose a health risk. These materials may become hazardous and pose increased risk if they are damaged, are disturbed in some manner, or deteriorate over time and release asbestos fibers into building air. A number of building materials and products still in use today contain asbestos. Asbestos remains in use as an acoustic insulator, and in thermal insulation, fire proofing, roofing, flooring and other materials,” [emphasis added].
Natural and intentional disasters not only cause immediate and acute damage, but they can release asbestos fibers, a source of suffering that will go undetected for decades and cannot be stopped. Every time there is a fire, an earthquake, a hurricane or some other disaster, asbestos fibers, which may have been safely contained before, are released into the air. Even in the event of a planned demolition project, asbestos may be released without intentional and careful removal of asbestos containing materials. Additionally, being confined in a small space during a disaster can heighten chances of asbestos fiber inhalation, as there is limited ventilation.
Once asbestos fibers are inhaled they begin a cancerous process leading to mesothelioma development. Many mesothelioma patients have no idea they were ever exposed to asbestos and therefore never seek medical attention regarding the matter. By the time symptoms demonstrate and they have reason to ask a doctor, it is too late. Although many disasters can be lived through, there is no cure for mesothelioma.
I share this on Doug’s blog hoping that anyone caught in a disaster or seeking to help others who have been affected, will use some common sense precautions. If you’re caught off guard, cover your nose and mouth with any available, breathable material until you can find a suitable respirator. If you’ve planned to help others, use a respirator as the least of your safety precautions. Asbestos travels best when its dry and airborne, so soak any questionable content with water and wash your clothes, and yourself, after possible exposure. This could keep you from spreading deadly fibers from place to place or person to person.
Lydia Miller, New Leaf Copywriting
I was checking out your blog and wondering if you accept guest blog posts? I write about mesothelioma and its cause, asbestos, which is often exposed during disasters when buildings and structures are demolished. Looking at your blog I thought this topic might interest your readers I keep it simple and informative with a few helpful links to provide some education. If you think this would be helpful for your readers, please let me know and I will send you an article.
New Leaf Copywriting
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Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos entering the respiratory system. In disasters causing building collapse, asbestos is released into the air, from buildings containing asbestos. This is called friable asbestos and can result in mesothelioma.
That is why mesothelioma can be another challenge to disaster survival.
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Mesothelioma Malignant Prevention Information
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