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Asbestos illnesses are still a threat to industrial workers

The link between asbestos fibers and lung cancer is well-known, and it has been medically proven. Many persons who inhaled asbestos fibers, including many residents of North Carolina, have recovered compensation dollars from manufacturers of asbestos-containing products whose products caused them to contract mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer caused only by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. And the Jeffrey Mine, once the supplier of three-quarters of the world's demand for asbestos, has closed. It is located in a Canadian town named Asbestos.

The greatly reduced demand for asbestos fibers may lead some to believe that the immediate threat has past, that greater knowledge, improved manufacturing techniques and adequate asbestos substitutes have essentially eliminated further exposure to the mineral. A recent article in a leading US news magazine shows that this conclusion is sadly wrong.

The article demonstrates that workers are still exposed to asbestos as older buildings are either renovated or demolished. In the United States, asbestos will be responsible for approximately 10,000 deaths, close to the same number of deaths that are caused by gun crime or skin cancer. The article also recounts the deplorable cover-up by the asbestos industry as the link between inhaling asbestos fibers and mesothelioma became too well documented to ignore or deny.

The use of asbestos-containing products is strictly regulated by the United States and North Carolina governments, but exposure still occurs. Also, the latency period for mesothelioma, the time which is required for victims to develop symptoms, is very long, sometimes more than 20 years. Thus, persons whose exposure occurred many years ago still develop the disease. Asbestos-related products still persist in the work place, and they still cause mesothelioma if the fibers are inhaled.

Source: NewRepublic.com, "Asbestos still killing people," Nic Fleming, March 22, 2014

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