The dangers associated with asbestos exposure have been documented back to ancient times. But despite all we know about asbestos and its ability to cause dangerous diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma, it is still used around the world in construction projects. This puts thousands at risk of serious illness or death.
Mesothelioma Life Expectancy: Scientists in Italy recently published a study on the effects of asbestos exposure on employees at an asbestos cement plant in the southern Italian city of Naples and the results were quite startling. The scientists focused on 1,247 laborers in the factory. They found a significant increase in deaths associated with respiratory diseases among the workers compared to the general population. The study looked at people who worked at the facility between 1950 and 1986, when asbestos use began to lose favor in Italy. It was eventually banned there in 1992.
The workers were tracked through 2005, and the study found that 240 subjects died as a result of respiratory diseases including pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer from asbestos. The authors of the study concluded that this was similar to other studies performed elsewhere in the world.
The results are an alarming reminder of how dangerous asbestos is to those who are exposed to its cancer-causing fibers. Nearly 20 percent of subjects died because of the exposure and this number could rise as more victims die over the coming years. Sometimes it can take 10-50 years for mesothelioma symptoms to fully develop.
Mesothelioma Prognosis: Unlike our government, Italy has banned asbestos. Recently a court in Turin, Italy, convicted two businessmen of negligence stemming from the use of asbestos in their factory. In the United States, it is still legal to use asbestos for some applications and a ban on the substance has yet to be passed through Congress.
The evidence is clear; asbestos kills. Isn’t it time to reverse the disturbing trend of asbestos-related deaths? Isn’t it time we ban asbestos?