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Could asbestos have been a factor in the death of Donna Summers?

Reports of the death of Donna Summer saddened her fans across the world. The "Queen of Disco" recently passed away after losing the battle with lung cancer. In the aftermath of her death, some are wondering if asbestos exposure was a factor in the singer's untimely passing.

Summer had previously survived breast cancer. When doctors later told her that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer as well, she reportedly questioned the cause of her disease. The singer was told that her smoking led to cancer, but it is said that Summer did not believe it was the smoking. Instead, she maintained that she was exposed to asbestos dust following the tragic events on 9/11.

The music legend had been living in a New York City apartment, in close proximity to ground zero at the time of the attack on the Twin Towers. Following the attacks, she complained about the odor and presence of a thick dust that took several days to clear up. It is said that she believed that she had been exposed to toxic levels of asbestos dust, and it was the real culprit of her lung cancer.

Because the debris may have released significant high levels of asbestos, several reports of emergency responders and residents in the area have been diagnosed with cancer which may be linked to inhaling the dust. There are numerous lawsuits in place on behalf of the victims who have developed cancer following their work in the aftermath of the attack.

It is true that smokers are at an increased risk for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. It may be possible that the combination of Summer's history of smoking may have made her more susceptible to developing lung cancer. Could her disease have been prevented or delayed had she not been exposed to asbestos, though?

Because it can take at least 10 years for a person to start showing symptoms of the devastating diseases associated with asbestos, tracking down the source can be tricky to do alone. This may be especially difficult for people who were exposed and are a smoker. In this case, it is certainly possible that Summer had been in contact with the toxic substance. Since the attacks happened over 10 years ago, the timing of her diagnosis may be an indicator that asbestos may have been a factor.

Source: Christian Post, "Donna Summer and 9/11 Attack Claims, Star Believed Attacks Were Against Christians?" Brittney R. Villalva, May 18, 2012

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