Lewis and Sholnick have announced the publication of some simple precautionary steps can be taken to avoid high risk situations in regards to asbestos and mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It refers specifically to a cancerous tumor which involves the mesothelial cells of an organ, usually the lungs or abdomen. Despite being classified under the rather broad category of cancer, however, Mesothelioma is unique for a number of reasons.
First is the immense devastation of the disease, and the inability for modern medical techniques to significantly slow its onset or offer a cure. Approximately 75% of patients die within 18 months of the first signs of the disease.
Second, is the long latency period between exposure to the cause of the disease, asbestos, and its onset. Latency runs the gamut from 15 to 50 years, meaning that a person may have been exposed to asbestos more than a half century before the first serious signs of the disease manifest themselves. The average reported latency, however, is approximately 35-40 years.
Because of the devastating nature of the disease and because we are able to point to a single root source, asbestos exposure, there is significant reason for all individuals to take necessary precautions to avoid contraction of the disease. While certainly no steps taken can fully eliminate all risk of asbestos exposure, some simple precautionary steps can be taken to avoid high risk situations.
For instance, a responsible parent should contact their children is local school district. In 1986 Congress passed the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, which required public and private nonprofit schools to inspect their buildings for asbestos-containing materials. Despite this, an untold number of schools either have not taken the necessary steps to eliminate the potential for asbestos exposure or the work has been done shoddily.
In fact, just two years ago a New York school district was found to have high levels of asbestos despite having had a contractor “remove” the threat a mere five years before.
Upon further investigation, however, the contractor used had already been cited numerous times for doing work not up to code in similar asbestos removal projects.
Consequently, concerned parents should first contact their children is school district to receive a copy of documentation stating that indeed, proper steps were taken to remove asbestos from the building. Then, parents should do a bit of their own research via the internet and the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the contractor hired has a stellar record.