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What is mesothelioma and what diseases can asbestos cause?

You may have heard the word asbestos frequently used but wondered what diseases asbestos exposure could cause. Asbestos exposure can cause a variety of diseases that fall into three broad categories of negative health effects including lung cancer; asbestosis; and mesothelioma. Asbestosis is a serious and progressive disease of the lungs but is not a cancer. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is found in the lining of the lung, chest, abdomen and heart.

Mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer are all serious and possibly fatal medical conditions that are caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos-related conditions can be difficult to diagnose and can cause significant suffering for victims and their families. Asbestos exposure can occur when asbestos fibers are disturbed in products containing asbestos material. Exposure can occur years prior to the development of any asbestos-related disease.

Asbestos can be present in a number of places including insulation materials, vinyl floor tiles and related materials; roofing and siding; textured paint and patching compounds; areas around wood stoves where asbestos paper or other products were used; hot water and steam pipes coated in asbestos material; vehicle brakes and clutches and in some other areas. Building and construction materials, and items individuals commonly come into contact with on an everyday basis, can all contain asbestos.

The health implications of asbestos exposure can be serious for victims and devastating for families watching loved ones suffer from a medical condition such as mesothelioma. Because of the significant negative health impact of asbestos exposure, protections are available through the legal process to victims and their families harmed by asbestos.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Learn About Asbestos," Accessed June 28, 2016

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