It has been decades since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that asbestos was a health hazard that caused mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases.
Despite that revelation and subsequent attempts to cut back on American use of the dangerous mineral, asbestos is still legal in the country, and it is continuing to sicken tens of thousands of people. A new report published by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put this reality into stark terms, revealing that – rather than diminishing – the number of mesothelioma deaths in the United States has continued to rise over the last two decades.
The CDC data represents a confirmation of what those in the mesothelioma community have long known – that asbestos continues to pose a real threat to human life and health.
It reads, “During 1999 – 2015, the annual number of malignant mesothelioma deaths increased 4.8% overall, from 2,479 in 1999 to 2,579 in 2015.” The report continues, “Despite regulatory actions and the decline in use of asbestos the annual number of malignant mesothelioma deaths remains substantial.”
Those deaths represent only those attributed specifically to mesothelioma, the rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It does not include deaths that have been a result of other asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, or asbestos-related lung cancer.
Experts extrapolating from the mesothelioma numbers estimate that in the same time period there have been almost 181,000 deaths from these other illnesses.
Breaking down the numbers within the CDC report reveals that although the highest number of mesothelioma deaths has been among those who are 85 or older, there were also a significant number of mesothelioma deaths among those between the ages of 25 and 44 years old.
This is evidence that despite protections that have been put in place, people continue to be exposed to asbestos, and are continuing to be sickened by that exposure.
Traditionally, asbestos exposure has come from occupational settings. Those who have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases have come from jobs working in construction, in shipyards, and in industrial settings.
Yet, others are being exposed from being in close proximity to those who worked in those settings, or from environmental exposures. As death rates continue to rise, it will become more and more apparent that steps need to be taken to entirely eliminate America’s use of asbestos in order to keep the public safe.
Once a mesothelioma diagnosis has been made, patients are thrust into a confusing and complex world. Their futures are dramatically shortened and they are filled with questions about their future and their family’s security.
For answers to these and many other questions, you can rely on the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net. To learn more about your options and the resources that are available to you, call us today at 1-800-692-8608.