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Study: Growing up near asbestos raises mesothelioma risk

On our mesothelioma law blog, we focus almost exclusively on the risks facing contractors, construction workers, insulation installers, shipyard and railroad employees and other workers who are exposed to asbestos over the course of their employment. We do not often focus on the people who live near a mine or other source of asbestos, and who are therefore exposed to the deadly fibers on a daily basis and, often, without knowledge of that exposure.

Now, a study has found that people who grow up in areas with high asbestos concentration are at an increased risk of contracting and dying from mesothelioma and related diseases, as well as other forms of cancer that are not directly tied to asbestos. This data will most likely provide essential guidance to the team of researchers that is currently studying the effects of vermiculite exposure on the residents of Libby, Montana, which you can read more about in our previous mesothelioma law blog posts.

In the study, researchers evaluated the health and medical records of nearly 2,500 people who lived in an asbestos mining town during their childhoods, defined as birth to age 15. Among the study participants, 124 men and 93 women had developed cancer, and 148 men and 70 women had passed away.

Compared to other women, the female participants were more likely to have mesothelioma and ovarian and brain cancers, and to have died of any cause. Similarly, the male participants were more likely than other men to have mesothelioma and leukemia, and brain, prostate and colorectal cancers. They were also more likely to have died from any kind of cancer.

These sad results indicate that it is not only workers who are at risk of mesothelioma and other ailments. People who simply have the bad fortune to live in a place with a high asbestos concentration could also suffer the harmful results of exposure.

Source: Surviving Mesothelioma, "Mesothelioma Risk High if Raised Near Asbestos," Aug. 27, 2012

At our Illinois personal injury law firm, we deal with cases of asbestos exposure like those discussed above. To learn more, please see our "Identifying When and Where You Were Exposed" page on our website.

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