Malignant mesothelioma is a global scourge. The rare, asbestos-related disease has impacted both developed and developing countries, with the rate of cases stabilizing in the former and on the rise in the latter. Though countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia have successfully minimized workplace risk and increased remediation efforts, a concerning number of citizens of those countries are beginning to be diagnosed following non-occupational exposures, and that is a cause for significant concern.
Different Demographics Being Diagnosed with Malignant Mesothelioma
According to a recent study conducted by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre at Ontario Health in Canada, there are two new demographics that are seeing an increase in the diagnosis of mesothelioma. The number of older adults and women with the disease is on the rise, and though the center’s director, Paul Demers, says that the majority of cases are still related to asbestos exposure on the job, the increase is an indication that low level exposure is also a concern.
Demers described the shift in mesothelioma demographics as “part of the gradual transition, I think, of moving away from being driven by the very high exposures in the past to having more people being exposed at lower levels but still getting cases.” The study, titled Mesothelioma: Epidemiology and Prognosis, analyzed more than 4,000 cases treated in British Columbia and Ontario over a 25-year period.
Mesothelioma Blamed on Home Insulation, Talcum Powder, and Other Exposures
According to Demers, this new wave of mesothelioma victims was exposed to asbestos at low levels, from items that were ubiquitous in society rather than in the high concentration exposures seen in the workplace. Talcum powder, protective clothing, home insulation and window-sealant caulking are just a few examples of the many products that contained asbestos before its dangers were known.
Though the per-population rate of malignant mesothelioma is leveling off in Canada, the actual case numbers are still on the rise, and Demers is concerned that the disease will continue to be a significant concern. “The really high asbestos exposures that people got in workplaces are becoming less common,” he says. “But lower exposures from asbestos that’s in buildings where people are living in — that’s gradually escaping into the environment — will become more important over time.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma. net can help you in many ways, including identify the source of your exposure. For more information, contact us at 1-800-692-8608.