Mesothelioma needs a lifetime of exposure to asbestos, right?

At times, the issue of asbestos seems outdated. Asbestos-containing materials have been reduced or restricted to such a point that it seems unlikely that anyone would even encounter the deadly material any more. That is what the apologists for the asbestos industry would like you to believe. That asbestos was used in World War 2 shipbuilding and a few remaining older buildings, but it really is not much of a threat to anyone’s health.

Then you read about a man who died recently in England. He had begun to suffer from a shortness of breath, and initially it was suspected he had a chest infection. By early 2010, the condition was not improving and he went back to the doctor. He was then first diagnosed with plural mesothelioma, the deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

This year his death was ruled to be the result of an industrial disease. When we think of people falling ill with mesothelioma, we tend to assume they spent their career exposed to asbestos dust, working in a shipyard, mining or working on asbestos brakes of cars, for instance.

His misfortune was traced to “two or three days” in 1967 when he worked in a factory where he cut asbestos with a saw. He was not provided any protection, and probably inhaled a great deal of fine, asbestos fiber that was spewed out by the circular saw during the process of cutting the asbestos.

Given the vast quantities of asbestos that exist in millions of structures, much of it unidentified, it is likely that exposures occur on a daily basis and will only make themselves known decades in the future.

Source: Welwyn Hatfield Times, “Man killed by asbestos dust exposure for just ‘two to three days’… 46 years ago,” August 4, 2013