According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in March 2017, a total of 45,221 deaths, between 1999 and 2015, were the result of malignant mesothelioma in the United States. Additionally, the annual number of deaths increased from 2,479 in 1999 to 2,579 in 2015; a 4.8 percent increase over the duration of the study. With the latency period being 20-50 years from time of asbestos exposure to appearance of symptoms, the age group that continues to see the most significant increase is 85 and older.
With Stricter Regulations Surrounding Asbestos Use, Why is the Number of Mesothelioma Deaths Increasing?
Many people believe that asbestos has been banned in the United States since the 1970s when warnings were issued on its use and deadly effects. There have been several attempts in the United States, including the EPA’s Asbestos Ban and Phase-Out Rule (ABPR) in 1989, to completely ban asbestos use, but they have been overturned or met with great opposition. Even though stricter regulations surround its use (asbestos can only account for less than one percent of the product), asbestos can still be found in products today, such as brake pads, roofing materials, cement piping, some potting soils, and many others.
Risks of Exposure Continue
Older populations of mesothelioma patients, particularly 85+, can trace their illness back to occupational exposure. They were employed prior to the 1970s when little was known about the deadly effects of asbestos. Family members are also at risk of bystander exposure, which is the result of asbestos fibers attaching to clothing and hair that traveled into the homes of many workers.
In addition to asbestos still being used in products manufactured today, it is important to be aware of older items that may be in your home. Those fond of the retro look may have vintage toasters, irons, coffee pots and refrigerators. Prior to the regulations in the 80s, asbestos was widely used in these products due to its heat-resistant and insulating capabilities. In 1979, hair dryers, including ones from Conair and Remington, were found to have hazardous amounts of asbestos. In 2000, it was discovered that trace amounts of asbestos were found in crayons and some children’s spy kits.
Another common place of exposure today is in older buildings and dwellings built prior to the 1980s. Renovations or any other kind of disturbance to these structures can put their occupants, as well as those in the surrounding area, in danger. When these buildings undergo construction, are demolished or catch fire, they pose a hazardous threat to construction workers and first responders. Once asbestos is disturbed, the deadly fibers are immediately released into the air and can be inhaled or ingested.
As long as asbestos remains in the United States, deaths from mesothelioma will continue to occur.
If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos or are experiencing any symptoms related to mesothelioma or other asbestos-causing diseases, it is important to consult a doctor. If an asbestos-related diagnosis has already been received, contact an asbestos attorney immediately to discuss your legal rights and potential compensation.