Asbestos exposure at dangerous levels continues, suggests CDC

Rising numbers of mesothelioma deaths puzzling to researchers.

It is well understood that people were exposed for decades in the 20th century to asbestos in many industrial jobs and that decades later, some of them developed malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. A new March 2017 report has been published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, often called the CDC, releasing data that suggests that despite some regulatory control of asbestos in products as well as significant tightening of safety rules and regulations in workplaces where asbestos is present, the rates of mesothelioma deaths are continuing to increase.

Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is a fatal cancer that develops in the narrow linings that surround internal organs after the victim has inhaled asbestos fibers. The most common type is pleural mesothelioma that develops in the lining around the lungs. The cancer is always fatal and causes excruciating symptoms. Treatment options are limited. The experience of losing someone to this disease is always devastating for loved ones.

Mesothelioma rates rising

CDC researchers found that from 1999 through 2015, there were 45,221 reported deaths related to malignant mesothelioma in the U.S. In 1999, there were 2,479 and in 2015, 2,597 annual asbestos-related deaths, an increase of 4.8 percent. The highest rate of increase was among victims 85 years old and older, not surprisingly, considering that mesothelioma often takes many decades to develop after asbestos exposure and usually does not manifest until its victims are elderly.

Previous projections had speculated that given regulatory protections that began largely in the 1970s and continue today, the death rate from mesothelioma would begin to decrease after 2005.

The future of asbestos exposure

These projections were wrong. With the numbers continuing to rise, researchers must now attempt to understand the reason. They comment that the increasing numbers of mesothelioma deaths as well as a surprising number among "younger populations" point to a "need for maintaining efforts to prevent exposure and for ongoing surveillance to monitor temporal trends."

The need for greater government restrictions on exposure to and use of asbestos as well as the stated need to continue to study the development of asbestos-related diseases is concerning in an era of political pressure to shrink the federal government. Advocates for greater protections from asbestos will continue to push for a total ban, more regulation and even tighter work safety standards.

Seek legal counsel about remedies for mesothelioma injury

Anyone who has developed mesothelioma should seek legal advice as soon as possible to understand what potential legal options for recovery may be available. Likewise, the survivors of a loved one who died from the disease should also speak to a lawyer about legal remedies like a potential lawsuit.

Consulting with an experienced asbestos attorney can make all the difference because asbestos lawsuits can present complexities. Decisions may need to be made about which legal theory to use and where to file a suit. These suits can be challenging because asbestos exposure could have happened decades ago or it could be uncertain where the victim was exposed. Evidence and victims are likely sparse.

The lawyers of Savinis & Kane, L.L.C., in Pittsburgh advocate for clients with asbestos injuries throughout the state and across the country.