The workplace can be home to numerous unknown safety hazards, some of which are known to pose a risk across a number of different occupations and work environments. For most of the 20th century, asbestos was readily used as a common and versatile material in a number of products, especially as a insulator. This material was used in a number of different workplace environments such as military bases, power plants, and many other workplace areas.
Once a link between mesothelioma cancer and asbestos exposure was identified in the late 1900’s, use of these materials started to drop heavily. Still, even with businesses and work environments not using asbestos materials any longer, the disease’s impact would be felt for years to come.
This form of cancer involves tumors within the lining of the abdomen, lungs and heart known as the mesothelium. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this disease involves its extremely long latency period, as symptoms of mesothelioma arising decades after an original exposure to asbestos. This long gap makes mesothelioma life expectancy very low, often averaging between four and 18 months after diagnosis. With this latency period often lasting up to 50 years, the importance in keeping awareness and knowledge of this disease remains a top priority today.
September 26, 2011 is currently designated as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day and has been set forth to increase both funding and knowledge involved with this deadly form of cancer. With up to 3,000 Americans being diagnosed per year, keeping high amounts of awareness and funding is greatly important in the battle against mesothelioma. Even with use of asbestos being nowhere near where it was in the past, it is estimated that over a million workers could still run the risk of exposure in 2011.
Congress has set aside this day as an opportunity to help the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation for the eighth year. [The Canadian Society of Asbestos Victims (CanSAV) encourages Canadians to contact their local, provincial and federal governments and urges them to recognize Mesothelioma Awareness Day.]
Some of the prime topics tied to this year’s events will include discussion on the aftermath of major events including 9/11, as well as the predicted increase in diagnoses of mesothelioma in the future. Calling attention to this deadly form of cancer will only serve to help people stay more informed on a dangerous hazard that’s had major affect on thousands of workers over the years.
Written by: Rachel Jones