Home projects may lead to a new wave of mesothelioma cases

This article looks at studies showing homeowners may be at risk of mesothelioma during DIY projects.

Mesothelioma is often thought of as a problem primarily affecting those who work in occupations with high exposure to asbestos, such as construction workers and miners. However, what many people do not realize is that asbestos can be found in millions of homes across the world, including in the United States. While primarily used in insulation, asbestos can also be found in homes' roofing, pipes, hot water systems, and tile lining. That has led to fears that there could a new wave of mesothelioma cases linked to DIY home renovation projects.

Mesothelioma risk in the home

So far, most of the studies looking at mesothelioma risk in the home have been conducted in Australia, where asbestos had long been used for insulation prior to 1990. However, asbestos can also be found in millions of homes in the United States, making the findings of such studies useful for American homeowners.

One recent Australian study looked into whether people who live in homes insulated with loose-fill asbestos are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. As Science Daily reports, while that study found women were not at an increased risk, men had a 2.5 times higher risk of developing mesothelioma if they lived in a house with loose-fill asbestos. The study also found that both men and women were at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, although the researchers were not sure if that increased risk was directly related to asbestos exposure.

DIY projects and mesothelioma

The presence of asbestos in homes has led to concerns that homeowners could unwittingly put themselves at increased risk of mesothelioma by undertaking DIY home renovation projects, which could disturb asbestos-laced materials. Another Australian study highlighted how the popularity of DIY projects was fueling a new wave of mesothelioma cases.

As Medical Life Sciences News reports, that study found that the percentage of mesothelioma cases among women that were due to home renovation increased from five percent in the 1990s to 35 percent in the years between 2005 and 2008. Among men, home renovation was responsible for eight percent of mesothelioma cases in 2005 to 2008, up from just three percent in the 1990s. As many older houses that were built with asbestos products are in need of repairs and renovations, asbestos-safety experts warn that homeowners who are unaware of the toxic risk contained in their homes could be putting themselves in harm's way by undertaking their own renovation projects without proper safety equipment and training.

Legal help for mesothelioma victims

For those who are suffering from mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, compensation may be available to help them with their ordeal. An attorney who is experienced in handling asbestos-related claims can help mesothelioma sufferers understand what options may be open to them.