Causes of Mesothelioma

Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is causes by inhalation of fibers The risk of mesothelioma rises with the intensity and duration of exposure to asbestos. Most patients were exposed to asbestos at work. However, there are cases of mesothelioma among people who did not encounter asbestos at work, but instead were exposed in the home.

Materials Containing Asbestos

Most insulation materials before the mid-1970s contained asbestos. Many other construction materials also contained asbestos. Some of the most common products were:

  • Insulation on pipes
  • Boiler insulation
  • Insulating cements, plasters, and joint compounds that came in powder form and created a lot of dust before being completely mixed with water.
  • Fireproofing spray
  • Firebrick and gunnite used for internal insulation of furnaces, boilers, and other vessels
  • Roof, floor, and ceiling tiles.
  • Siding
  • Brakes and clutches

Asbestos use expanded dramatically during the mid-20th Century, with expanded use in the military and in mass production of housing. The automotive industry and many manufacturing industries used asbestos in production and in finished products sold to consumers.

Although awareness of the dangers of asbestos and public concern over the issue have led to a decline in domestic consumption over the years, a total ban on asbestos has not been instituted in the United States. Asbestos is still imported and still used.

Epidemiologists have found that the rate of mesothelioma incidence in the United States has been approximately constant in recent years. The absolute number of cases has risen as the population has increased. Experts predict these cases will continue. More on how to interpret risk numbers.

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