Friday, April 04, 2008

Myth: Asbestos a Thing of the Past

According to an article on deaths from mesothelioma/asbestos, each year, 10,000 Americans die -- often quite painfully - due to asbestos-related illnesses. Because it takes between 10 and 50 years for symptoms to emerge, these numbers are expected to climb through 2018.

"People think asbestos is a thing of the past," said Harbut, M.D., co-director of the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Related Cancers, at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, adding that inhaling or swallowing asbestos fibers permanently penetrates the lungs and other tissue, causing cancer and other respiratory diseases. "I wish it were."

This weekend Harbut is increasing awareness regarding early detection at The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization's fourth annual Asbestos Awareness Day Conference in Detroit.
His goal is to educate and provide outreach to those impacted by exposure. Scheduled events include a musical performance by Jordan Zevon, son of legendary rock musician Warren Zevon, who died of an asbestos-related illness in 2003.

At 10:30 a.m. today, participants will join people around the globe in celebrating the memory of those who died of related diseases with a candlelight ceremony and brunch at the Detroit Marriot Renaissance Center.

"There's a place you can go to find out if you are at high risk for developing asbestos cancers - and get some help," Harbut said. "Karmanos is generally thought to be at the forefront of asbestos research."

Harbut's research team is recognized for discovering two early tumor markers for asbestos-related disease, as revealed through a blood test.

"Early detection helps people live longer and less painfully -- and hopefully less tragically for the family," Harbut said. "It can take a very brief exposure to be affected. There's no such thing as a safe level of exposure."

Between 4,000 and 8,000 new cases of mesothelioma are discovered in the United States each year. Asbestos is the only known cause. According to Harbut, it's the smallest percentage of asbestos-related cancers. Tens of thousands of others are expected to die of lung cancer, asbestosis and other related illnesses.

1 comment:

Willard Catalan said...

During the 1930's asbestos was discovered to be a great material to be used in building homes, it’s fire resistant as well as sturdy and strong.If your home was built during this time, there is a chance that asbestos may have been used. As a homeowner it is advised not to disturbed it or just call for some professionals like Asbestos Testing in Calgary they will collect samples from suspected building products in the house and have them tested for asbestos.