If you have been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, or have a loved one being treated for the disease, you likely know more than you ever wanted to know about how it occurs, its treatment and its prognosis.
But before mesothelioma touched your life directly, how much did you know about it? Had you ever even heard of it?
Your personal knowledge of mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases is likely dependent on your background. There is no shame in not knowing about the rare disease previously, but for those whose professions put them at risk for asbestos exposure, having a good working knowledge of asbestos dangers is essential.
A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom has raised concerns among health advocates because it indicates that many asbestos workers have no idea that they are at risk, and that means they aren’t taking the appropriate actions to protect themselves.
In the U.S., there are laws and regulations regarding asbestos handling and removal that are specifically designed to protect workers. Employers are required to provide protective clothing, and demolition companies are to test for asbestos’ presence when it is suspected, and to use license abatement companies where it is found.
Some may try to skirt these rules, but doing so carries heavy penalties. In United Kingdom, these requirements and educational efforts have not been as robust, and roughly 15 percent of construction workers at risk for asbestos exposure indicated that they were unfamiliar with mesothelioma. They also indicated they had no idea how to protect themselves against the disease despite having worked with the carcinogenic material.
Many workers had no idea that there is a registry of asbestos-contaminated projects that they could check before agreeing to work on a project, and one in five construction workers said that if they were to come across asbestos on a job site they would have no idea what to do about it.
“This is particularly the case among small companies, sole traders and older workers. Uncertainty and ignorance surrounding how to prevent workers from breathing in the fibers is deeply worrying,” Dr. Lesley Rushton, Chair of the United Kingdom’s Industrial Injuries Advisory Council said
In the U.S., education and awareness programs have ensured that those who are at risk know about mesothelioma, and environmental activists are working to make existing laws even stronger.
If you or someone you love has been affected by asbestos and you need information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.