September 26, 2014 is the 10th anniversary for Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by over-exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos is an air borne naturally occuring mineral and known human carcinogen. Although it’s cancer-causing effects are known and proven, 30 million pounds of it are still being used in the United States today. Asbestos remains the leading cause of occupational cancer in the United States.
This year 10,000 Americans alone will die of asbestos and related cancers and 200,000 people will still be living with this toxic mineral surrounding them.
In 1989 the EPA issued a ban on asbestos usage in the household but repealed this mandate in 1991 due to the it’s efficiency used as a building material. Other household items containing asbestos include toasters, hairdryers and up to 3,000 other consumer products.
Mesothelioma is a progressive cancer that wears the lining of the body cavity called the mesothelium. Mesothelioma tends to lie dormant in the body for 20-50 years after initial exposure. Doctors estimate that mesothelioma cases will peak in the year 2020.
After initial diagnosis (most common in the ages of 50-70) patients are given 10 months to live.
Enter Heather and her family.
After diagnosis Heather had a life-saving surgery which removed one of her lungs. It is now her life’s mission to spread awareness about the hazzards of asbestos and mesothelioma.
I was contacted by Heather to further spread this message. After reading all the information I noticed similarities between governmental regulation of asbestos and governmental regulation of something I have vented about before: pesticide usage.
Just as asbestos is a known carcinogen yet still used as a building material, pesticides such as Atrazine and Round-up are sprayed on crops for human consumption an have been proven to cause prostate and breast cancer, birth defects and asthma.
It’s issues like these that create cause for concern within the government. It seems like a no-brainer to people like Heather and I that if something is harmful it should not be allowed to affect the public. I don’t really see an issue up for debate. Even if this “democracy” allows people to make their own decisions, it should be known that everyone’s choices affect everyone else to some extent. By using asbestos or spraying chemicals, farmers or builders can argue that it is their choice to do so…however to what impact and to what end?
Regarding asbestos, people have begun getting mesothelioma and related illness even if they were not the ones who chose to build their house out of it. Regarding pesticides, people have to eat and are therefore affected when they buy the sprayed produce. Even if they choose pesticide-free vegetation, the run-off from the fields into lakes and streams affects local flora and fauna and gets into people’s drinking water…I digress.
What can we do to prevent mesothelioma?
SPREAD THE MESSAGE! Knowledge is power! Only if people know there is a problem can they choose to change it.
More information at Mesothelioma.com