CDC: Mesothelioma still a concern for younger generations

6 Mar 2017 by Sarah Mahan under News

carpenter 100x100 CDC: Mesothelioma still a concern for younger generationsMore than 45,000 people have died from malignant from 1999 through 2015, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released last week, and the annual number of deaths increased from 2,479 deaths in 1999 to 2,597 deaths in 2015.

is a deadly cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen. It is linked to exposure to asbestos, a group of silicate minerals once heavily used in a variety of materials due to its heat resistance and flexibility. Now, asbestos is a known human carcinogen, but remains difficult to treat due to its long latency period of 20 to 40 years and relatively short survival time. Most patients die within a year of diagnosis.

“Despite regulatory actions and the decline in use of asbestos, the annual number of malignant deaths remains substantial,” the report states.

Researchers are struggling to understand why younger people continue to suffer from asbestos-related medical issues, according to a CNN report. Though the mortality numbers for age groups 45 through 74 years old decreased over the time span, the continued exposure of people younger than 55 years old “suggests ongoing occupational and environmental exposures to asbestos fibers…despite regulatory actions by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aimed at limiting asbestos exposure,” according to the report.

CNN notes the potential causes for the 682 25- to 44-year-olds who died during the studied time span are still unknown, but the study suggests the new cases “might result from occupational exposure to asbestos fibers during maintenance activities, demolition and remediation of existing asbestos in structures, installations, and buildings if controls are insufficient to protect workers.”

Dr. Hedy Kindler, director of the University of Chicago’s program, agreed occupational exposure is the most common. “This disease remains relevant,” she told CNN, “and it remains a killer of people who, of no fault of their own other than doing their job, ere exposed to something that was preventable.”

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