Mesothelioma is an equal opportunity disease. It impacts everybody who has been exposed to asbestos, regardless of age, gender, or other demographic information. However, not everybody is equally at risk for exposure to asbestos. It has long been known that there are certain occupations that historically had a higher degree of exposure to the carcinogenic material than others. What has not been publicized is the fact that Native Americans continue to be put at disproportionate risk for asbestos-related diseases because of illegal dumping of asbestos on their tribal lands.
Native Americans at Risk for Mesothelioma Due to Asbestos Exposure from Blue Collar Jobs
According to a report published in The Circle, a Native American news publication, data available through the National American Indian Cancer Foundation has revealed lung cancer as one of the top causes of deaths among the Native American community, and that mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are a particular concern. Though Native American women are also affected by breast and colorectal cancer and men by prostate and colorectal cancer, there is significant concern about the role that asbestos has played in tribal health. This is not only because so many Native American men and women worked in blue collar jobs that put them at high risk for exposure to the mineral. Another known source of asbestos exposure leading to mesothelioma among Native Americans is that those who worked in asbestos-exposed jobs later brought asbestos dust home on their skin, clothing or hair. This second-hand exposure has long been known as a risk factor for family members, including women and children.
Fly Tipping is Illegal and Puts Native Americans at Risk
One of the mesothelioma risks that Native Americans face is from exposure to asbestos that has been illegally dumped on their tribal lands. This practice is known as fly tipping, and it is frequently perpetrated by those trying to avoid compliance with federal, state or local asbestos disposal and handling rules. This puts Native Americans of all ages at risk for exposure to this carcinogenic material: its fibers can easily become airborne and inhaled, as well as carried into groundwater and ingested.
The heightened risk of mesothelioma as a result of these actions represents a continuation of the damage caused by asbestos. If you or anybody you love has been impacted by asbestos and needs information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.