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What Causes Mesothelioma? Exploring the Risk Factors

Understanding what causes mesothelioma is essential for both prevention and early detection.

What Causes Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that primarily affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and heart. Understanding what causes mesothelioma is crucial for prevention and early detection. This article will explore the primary risk factors associated with this devastating disease.

What Causes Mesothelioma?

The primary cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a group of naturally occurring minerals composed of thin, needle-like fibers. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can become lodged in the mesothelium, the protective lining covering many internal organs. Over time, these fibers cause inflammation and scarring, which can lead to the development of mesothelioma.

Key Risk Factors for Mesothelioma

1. Occupational Exposure

Workers in certain industries are at a higher risk of asbestos exposure. These industries include:

  • Construction: Asbestos was widely used in building materials such as insulation, roofing, and floor tiles.
  • Shipbuilding: Asbestos was used extensively in ship construction due to its heat-resistant properties.
  • Manufacturing: Factories that produced products containing asbestos, like textiles, automotive parts, and cement, posed a significant risk.
  • Mining: Asbestos mining operations exposed workers directly to asbestos fibers.

2. Secondary Exposure

Secondary exposure occurs when family members of workers who were exposed to asbestos come into contact with asbestos fibers brought home on clothing, hair, or skin. This type of exposure can also lead to mesothelioma, demonstrating the wide-reaching dangers of asbestos.

3. Environmental Exposure

In some cases, people living near asbestos mines or natural deposits of asbestos can be exposed to fibers through the air or water. Additionally, older buildings containing asbestos materials can pose a risk if the asbestos becomes disturbed and airborne.

4. Living with Asbestos-Containing Products

Asbestos was commonly used in various household products before its dangers were fully understood. Products such as insulation, floor tiles, and even certain appliances contained asbestos. Those who have lived in homes with these materials, especially if the materials have deteriorated or been damaged, may be at risk.

5. Genetic Factors

While asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma, genetic factors may also play a role. Certain genetic mutations can make individuals more susceptible to the harmful effects of asbestos exposure. Research is ongoing to better understand how genetics influence the development of mesothelioma.

Preventing Mesothelioma

Preventing mesothelioma involves minimizing exposure to asbestos. Here are some key steps to reduce the risk:

  • Follow Safety Protocols: If you work in an industry with potential asbestos exposure, adhere strictly to safety guidelines, including wearing protective gear and undergoing regular health screenings.
  • Proper Handling and Removal: If you suspect asbestos in your home, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Hire licensed professionals who can safely handle and dispose of asbestos-containing materials.
  • Awareness and Education: Educate yourself and your family about the risks of asbestos and the importance of avoiding exposure. Knowledge is a powerful tool in prevention.

St. Louis Mesothelioma Lawyer

Understanding what causes mesothelioma is essential for both prevention and early detection. Asbestos exposure remains the primary risk factor, but awareness of secondary and environmental exposures, as well as genetic predispositions, is also important. By taking preventive measures and staying informed, we can reduce the incidence of this deadly disease.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, seeking legal advice can help you understand your rights and options. At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, we have over 30 years of experience in workers’ compensation and work injury law. Our St. Louis mesothelioma lawyers are here to support you through this challenging time. Contact us today for a consultation.

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