Most people have never encountered a person with mesothelioma. The disease, resulting from exposure to some type of asbestos, has long been associated with industrial trades and heavy industry, like shipbuilding in California. Because few ships are still constructed in California, many probably feel that most of the threat posed by asbestos is long gone.
Here’s an interesting statistic, in Britain today, more people die from mesothelioma than from traffic accidents. In Britain, asbestos-related disease, like mesothelioma, is anything but a historical rarity.
And according to one projection, deaths from mesothelioma are actually expected to increase through the early 2020s. A recent news story from The Telegraph describes the death of one man, a doctor, who was only 55 when he died this year, after contracting mesothelioma when he was 48.
Clearly, his exposure was not from WWII-era shipbuilding. No, he suspected he was exposed to asbestos fibers as a young doctor walking the tunnels of a London hospital during the time he was training. He also located three other doctors who trained during the same period. By 2014, they had all died of mesothelioma.
Shockingly, the leading expert on mesothelioma in Britain expects it will be 2050 before the mesothelioma epidemic burns itself out.
By then, many of the locations, like hospitals, stores and public buildings will have completed asbestos abatement programs to remove the deadly material from the pipes, electrical, flooring and ceiling tiles, which tend to have been the most common materials contaminated with asbestos.
Whether in Britain or California, the project will take decades and constant vigilance, as we work to cleanse our structures of the carcinogen and finally make mesothelioma a true historical oddity.
The Telegraph, “Asbestos: The Killer That Still Surrounds Us,” Harry De Quetteville, September 1, 2014