Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Occupations At Risk For Mesothelioma

Occupations At Risk For Mesothelioma by Joe Devine

Malignant mesothelioma is a serious form of cancer that affects the smooth lining of the chest, lungs, heart, and abdomen. Most cases of malignant mesothelioma are caused by repeated exposure to asbestos which is a flame retardant material that was used to insulate buildings. It is also found in ceiling or floor tiles, roof shingles, cement, automobile brakes and clutches. Exposure can also be from drinking contaminated water. When around asbestos, fibers are inhaled and often get stuck in the deepest parts of the lungs which eventually can lead to malignant mesothelioma.

The common symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, a cough or change in cough pattern, blood in fluid coughed up from the lungs, pain in the chest or abdomen, difficulty in swallowing or prolonged hoarseness, and significant weight loss.

The most common place of asbestos exposure is in the workplace. In fact, 70-80% of all mesothelioma cases report that they were exposed to asbestos in the workplace. The workers most at risk to repeated exposure are shipbuilders with exposure to asbestos as boiler insulation, construction workers, railroad workers around boilers and furnaces, maintenance engineers and janitors, auto mechanics and auto workers exposed to asbestos in brake linings and clutches, miners who have mined vermiculite or asbestos, factory workers, drywall removers, demolition workers, firefighters, family members of people that work around asbestos, and people that live near asbestos factories or mills.

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