Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that occurs within the cells that
line the chest and abdominal cavity. There are approximately 3,000 new
cases of mesothelioma each year. The average survival time after
diagnosis is 1 to 2 years, with a five-year survival rate of 8%.
The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occuring mineral that was used in insulation, roofing materials, siding and floor tiles because of it is fireproof and flexible. It can take decades from the time of exposure for mesothelioma to develop, so most mesothelioma cases are diagnosed in elderly patients.
If the pipes in your basement are wrapped with insulation, consider having it inspected by a professional asbestos abatement company, especially if the insulation is fraying and in poor condition. They may recommend either encapsulation (covering the insulation with another material to prevent the asbestos fibers from becoming airborne) or removal. Do not attempt to remove the insulation yourself.
Before starting any remodeling project on an older home, get a sample of the floor/ceiling tiles, wallboard, plaster, texture paint, roofing shingles/felt, insulation, ductwork connectors, and siding tested. The only way to be sure whether these products contain asbestos is for an expert to look at them under a microscope.
Note that these resources all appear to be sponsored by law firms seeking to represent patients afflicted with mesothelioma.
Copyright © 2005-2009 by Mark Kantrowitz. All rights reserved.
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