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Houston Floods Raise Concerns of Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma Risk

People around the world have their eyes on Houston, reaching out to provide financial and emotional support to those who have lost their homes to historic flooding from Hurricane Harvey, but one thing that is not getting enough attention in these early days is the very real risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases in the aftermath of the disaster. Though immediate thoughts turn to what has been lost, and to concerns about mold and water damage, it is important to remember that every natural disaster raises the risk of exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos is widely known to be the single cause of mesothelioma, as well as of other serious and sometimes deadly diseases, but most people think of the mineral as having been banned in the 1980s, and no longer a concern to people in their every day lives. Unfortunately, this is not correct. Asbestos continues to be used in the United States, including in the fabrication of drywall and sheetrock in homes. The carcinogenic material is considered to be safe because it was encapsulated with paper covering on both sides of the product. Though this process effectively prevents asbestos fibers from entering the air under normal circumstances, once drywall is damaged or needs to be removed or cut open during renovation or demolition, those fibers can easily become airborne and become a health hazard. Though a licensed asbestos tester or remediation expert would take the appropriate steps under normal circumstances of a home renovation, the widespread damage represented under current circumstances raises the risk that people will undertake these projects on their own, unknowingly risking their long term health in the process.

Of chief concern is that untrained, unprotected homeowners will inadvertently expose themselves to asbestos particles: breathing these fibers in can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer, and other conditions that will only materialize decades after the hurricane itself is nothing but a memory. Houston-area residents are urged to protect themselves and seek professional assistance instead of moving in a way that may provide immediate emotional gratification, but long-term risk.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you need all the information you can get. Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608 for immediate access to the resources you need.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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