Global Asbestos Awareness Week takes place annually from April 1 to April 7. Asbestos is a dangerous fiber, exposure to which causes many illnesses and is known to cause mesothelioma. In fact, the vast majority of mesotheliomas are caused by exposure to asbestos.
For the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, an organization whose mission it is to eradicate mesothelioma, asbestos awareness is synonymous with prevention.
Mesothelioma prevention can have very different meanings depending on the context in which the phrase is used.
For some, to prevent mesothelioma means to eliminate asbestos entirely. While technically this statement is absolutely true and something we should strive for, realistically, it is not nearly as simple as it sounds. Specifically, in this instance, there are two complicating factors to consider:
- So many of us have already been exposed to asbestos, but because of the latency of mesothelioma which usually ranges between 20-50 years, the risk of developing mesothelioma continues well into the future.
- In the United States, asbestos was used so predominantly over the course of the last century and is still present in millions of homes, schools, government buildings, etc. Although heavily regulated, asbestos imports have not yet been fully banned. In addition, asbestos occurs naturally in the soil of certain areas of the United States like El Dorado, California, and Nevada. Globally, asbestos production and use is rampant in many third-world countries whose apathetic governments aren’t willing to do what is necessary to protect their population.
With that said, while we aren’t able to completely eliminate asbestos from our environment, there are a couple of areas of attack that we should consider during this asbestos awareness week.
- Avoiding exposures through a better understanding of where asbestos can be found, what it looks like, and how to handle it (or NOT handle it, as it may be);
- For those individuals who have already been exposed knowingly (or unknowingly): Funding research into development of a better understanding of the changes on a cellular level that occur between the time an individual is exposed and the time they develop the disease, thus creating the possibility of stopping disease development in its tracks before it turns to cancer, or stopping the cancer in its earliest stages (the Meso Foundation has been on the forefront of funding research into biomarkers – more on this in our subsequent blogposts).
Those of you in the mesothelioma community are far too aware of the dangers of asbestos, but the general public isn’t there yet. We ask that you help us share valuable and life-saving information that we will continue sharing this Global Asbestos Awareness Week, as well as information available on our website at www.curemeso.org/asbestos such as:
Make sure to stay tuned to our page over the course of the next few days for more easy-to-share information.