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Asbestos: A carcinogen with devastating consequences

Did you know that asbestos exposure, and the diseases that come with it being a carcinogen, leads to approximately 40,000 deaths in America each year? Every kind of asbestos can lead to cancers including mesothelioma, cancers of the ovaries and larynx, asbestosis and lung cancer.

In most industrialized countries around the world, asbestos is no longer used. In fact, the United States is the last western industrialized nation that has not banned asbestos. That means that millions of Americans could be exposed to this dangerous mineral.

How significant is asbestos use in the United States?

In 2017, it was estimated that the United States used around 300 metric tons of asbestos. This material is being used despite the fact that there are many materials that have the potential to substitute in its place.

How many people die from asbestos-related asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma due to exposure on the job?

Around the world, it's estimated that over 107,000 people die each year as a result of these conditions. Americans make up around 40,000 of those deaths.

The horrible truth about asbestos use is that it has been known as a human carcinogen for over 40 years, yet little has been done to prevent exposure. Around the world, the World Health Organization has stated that around one in three people who died from occupational cancers developed those cancers due to asbestos. On top of that, home environments also resulted in exposure, and it's believed that several thousands of people die as a result of having asbestos in their living environments.

What can you do if you've been exposed to asbestos?

If you've been exposed, you should know that there is a long latency period before you're likely to see any kind of ill effects. Certain cancers, like mesothelioma, can take decades to appear. Fortunately, if you know that you've been exposed, you can go to your medical provider and seek treatments that could help you. At the very least, having a record of exposure will help show when you were exposed and create a paper trail if you need to file for workers' compensation or compensation for asbestos exposure later in life.

If you do later develop one of these diseases or illnesses, having a history of exposure will help you make your claim. It can also mean that you check your health more regularly and catch these potentially life-threatening diseases before they progress significantly.

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