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Natural Disasters, Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma

What do natural disasters, asbestos exposure and mesothelioma have in common?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, and currently accounts for less than 0.3% of all cancer diagnoses in the U.S.

Symptoms of mesothelioma usually do not show up for 20-50 years after asbestos exposure, which is when tumors have grown and spread. The average life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is 12 to 22 months.

The typical mesothelioma patient is male, over 65 with a blue-collar or military background; however, anyone with a history of asbestos exposure is at risk. Occupations with the greatest risk of asbestos exposure include: construction, firefighting, manufacturing, chemical refining, power generation, shipbuilding and military service.

So how do natural disasters increase exposure to asbestos?

Prior to 1980, a significant percentage of homes and commercial buildings were built with asbestos materials. Those materials are considered safe as long as they are in good condition. But once ripped, broken, burned, blown or washed away, the products release toxic asbestos fibers into the air. Breathing in these fibers in the aftermath of a natural disaster can lead to serious health conditions years later. The more someone is exposed to asbestos, the higher their risk of developing asbestos-related diseases later such as mesothelioma.

In this episode we speak with Michelle Whitmer, writer at, which is brought to us by the Mesothelioma Center. Michelle explains about what the Center does, what mesothelioma is, as well as some of the valuable resources they have on their site for free.

We encourage you to watch the video and learn more about how you can get prepared. It is well worth it.

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