There are many unfortunate consequences to the use of asbestos throughout the industrialized world. That there are so many unsuspecting victims is perhaps the greatest tragedy. Workers, their spouses and children, were unwittingly exposed to asbestos in the thousands of industrial uses where it was employed.
Additionally, the long time frame of the disease further lends itself to the unsuspecting character of the illnesses it causes, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma, which may take decades to develop. Many workers may have even forgotten that they may ever have been exposed to the deadly asbestos fibers, only to receive the devastating diagnosis from a doctor 30 or 40 years after the fact.
Because of the way asbestos was mined, refined and used, the asbestos-related illnesses often cluster in towns and cities, such as the case of Libby, Montana, where virtually everyone who ever lived there is at high risk of contracting mesothelioma.
Similarly, in other parts of the world, mesothelioma cases may center on a factory or city where use of asbestos was common. A new report finds that in the UK, Yorkshire accounts for 10 percent of all the mesothelioma victims in that country.
The city of Leeds has seen more than 700 deaths from mesothelioma in the last 30 years and is described as a “hot spot.” And it was due to the presence of a particular factory that was “spewing asbestos dust” for decades.
Sadly, like many places, the death toll from this asbestos exposure is expected to mount until at least 2020. And perhaps the most unfortunate consequence of asbestos is, as the story notes, disturbingly the peak of asbestos cases seems to move ever backwards, as more sources of exposure are found and more victims develop.
Source: The Yorkshire Post, “Shocking toll of mesothelioma deaths cast shadow over region,” August 5, 2014