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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Prevention of mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Prevention

For people who have worked with asbestos for many years, the discussion of mesothelioma prevention seems to be a moot point. Many who have been exposed to asbestos believe it's already too late to talk about ways to avoid developing mesothelioma. They think the affect of asbestos on the lungs has already manifested itself and there's no escaping the threat of developing the disease. However, past asbestos exposure is not the only factor people should worry about because the possibility of being exposed today is just one mistake away.

Asbestos was used in literally thousands of products throughout much of the twentieth century. Many of those items, particularly building products, are still in homes, offices, and factories across the country. Workers in specific industries can still encounter asbestos as well, including those who work in shipyards, power plants, chemical plants, or in the railroad and automotive industry

Prevention at Work

In the past, the majority of workers had no idea that asbestos exposure could lead to the contraction of serious diseases. Today, however, most individuals are aware of the dangers, especially if they work in an industry that traditionally made use of the toxic substance. Regardless of the knowledge that is now available, not everyone takes the proper precautions that are needed to prevent exposure.

Preventing asbestos exposure and the risk of contracting mesothelioma at work can be accomplished through a few simple precautions. First of all, protective gear should be worn any time the presence of asbestos is suspected. Secondly, any clothes worn while working with asbestos should be left at the site. Wearing asbestos-covered clothes outside the work area could subject others to unwanted exposure. When dealing with asbestos, proper abatement methods should also be followed to ensure complete safety

Prevention in the Home

Most people don't encounter asbestos simply by walking around their home even if there is asbestos inside. Asbestos exposure usually occurs during home renovation projects because do-it-yourself projects can catch non-professionals off guard.

Some of the in-home items that may contain asbestos include:

Attic insulation
Roof shingles and tar
Drywall and drywall glue
Floor tiles
Popcorn ceilings
Joint compounds

Wrapping on pipes and electrical wires
Asbestos that is already damaged or may be crumbling because of age is referred to as "friable" asbestos. This kind of asbestos is especially dangerous because the toxic fibers that make up asbestos can easily circulate through the air become inhaled. Anyone performing any type of serious renovation work on a home built prior to 1980 should always wear protective gear

Mesothelioma Prevention After Exposure

Individuals who have already been exposed to asbestos, but have not developed an asbestos-related disease should be diligent about monitoring their health on a regular basis.

This can be done in a few different ways:

Mesothelioma blood test - A simple blood test that can detect mesothelioma before its symptoms appear was approved by the FDA. Dubbed Mesomark, this test can be administered in a doctor's office. Find out if your doctor has access to the test and be sure to be tested annually.
Imaging and other tests - Asbestos-exposed individuals can also be monitored via a diagnostic imaging test such as an x-ray, or by means of a pulmonary function test, which measures how well the lungs are working. These should also be done annually
Also, anyone who has been exposed to asbestos and has not yet developed an asbestos-related disease should not smoke. Smoking greatly increases the possibility of developing such a disease. In addition, those who have asbestosis and continue to smoke run a much higher risk of developing mesothelioma. 
Joint compound
Roofing tar
Brake pads
Floor tiles
Textured wall and ceiling coatings
If these items are intact, they usually present little to no health hazards. However, if they are damaged or "friable," they should be removed from the house immediately. Removal should be done by a licensed abatement company, as this is the best way to protect you and your family from asbestos exposure.

On-the-Job Prevention

Workers in particular industries may still be at risk for exposure to asbestos. Those in the construction industry, for example, may encounter old buildings that contain asbestos. It is necessary to take great care in protecting yourself if the presence of asbestos is suspected, which includes wearing proper gear to avoid inhalation.

Monitoring Your Health

If you have already been exposed to asbestos, regularly monitoring your health is essential in order to catch the early warning signs of disease. Remember, treatment options are greater the earlier the disease is diagnosed. It is important to have regular chest x-rays and pulmonary function tests, even if you are experiencing no symptoms of disease.
In addition, if you have been exposed to asbestos in the past, you may be able to reduce your chances of developing mesothelioma by not smoking. Studies show that smoking damages the lungs and can affect the risk of developing mesothelioma. Anyone who does develop an asbestos-related disease should stop smoking immediately