Asbestos-related deaths spike in Allegheny County, Penn.

21 Jul 2015 by under News, Research/Treatment

actinolite asbestos 100x100 Asbestos related deaths spike in Allegheny County, Penn.According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund, Allegheny County in Penn., faces more asbestos-related illnesses than any other county in the state. In order to help future asbestos victims, researchers are studying how location can impact your relationship with the deadly particles.

The EWG’s study discovered that at least 189,000 Americans died from asbestos-related illnesses between 1999 and 2013. If you dive deeper into the statistics, you find that approximately 14,216 deaths occurred in Pennsylvania and exactly 1,616 of these deaths occurred in just Allegheny County. If the study’s contents are correct, that would mean the county’s death rate was almost twice the amount of the national average.

“Heavy industry and building and construction in our area, I would say, would be the most common areas of concern as far as industrial exposure,” Dr. Rodney Landreneau, the director of thoracic surgery and thoracic oncology at the Allegheny Health Network, said about the recent study’s results. Allegheny County, as well as the rest of Pennsylvania, is known for its involvement in trades like construction, plumbing, carpentry and ironworking where asbestos had been used prior to changes in laws in 1980. Asbestos had been known for its tensile strength, flexibility, resistance to degradation, and electrical resistance. For decades, the minerals were used in thousands of products from insulation, fireproofing materials and car brakes to textiles, cement and wallboard materials.

Asbestos-related diseases tend to have a lengthy latency period of between 20 and 40 years. The most deadly of these diseases is – an aggressive form of cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, abdomen and sometimes even heart, but is caused almost solely by asbestos exposure. Asbestosis, another asbestos-related disease, occurs when lung tissue is scarred by asbestos fibers. There is no known cure for either disease.

“Mesothelioma is a disease that’s not well-managed with regard to medical therapy or surgical therapy for the most part,” Landreneau said. “It can be a very devastating disease for most patients.”

In order to protect unsuspecting consumers from the dangers of asbestos exposure, many governments across the globe prohibit the usage of asbestos. Companies that do use asbestos must report to the EWG if and how much asbestos was used in their products. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration () also keeps track of asbestos in products by enforcing strict regulations that limit employee exposure in industries still using the dangerous substance.

Source:
WESA

 

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