Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive and deadly form of cancer that is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Although mesothelioma disease is relatively rare, it is one of the most painful and difficult to treat; the best cure for mesothelioma is prevention. Ultimately, this means avoiding asbestos exposure. Although the chances of contracting mesothelioma are proportional to the amount and intensity of the exposure, the disease has been known to develop in people whose exposure has been minimal - but who have a genetic predisposition to cancer.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has enacted a number of regulations to protect workers on the job at asbestos jobsites, where most asbestos exposure takes place. Under current laws, the maximum permissible level of exposure is 01. fibers per cubic centimeter for an eight-hour work day and one fiber per cubic centimeter during any thirty minute period. In addition, employers are obligated to monitor and regulate the work environment and provide employees with protective gear and safety training.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also issued recommendations on how people can protect themselves against non-occupational asbestos exposure:
- Regular inspection and monitoring of asbestos products or materials in and around the home; asbestos was part of many common building materials.
- Having asbestos abatement carried out by trained, licensed professionals with proper safety equipment only.
- Avoiding sweeping, vacuuming, sanding, scraping or otherwise disturbing any surfaces that may be made from asbestos or contain asbestos materials.
- Avoiding the use of tobacco; studies have demonstrated a link beween smoking and mesothelioma showing that smokers face up to a 9000% greater chance of contracting asbestos cancer
- Getting regular checkups, particularly if there is a known history of asbestos exposure (i.e. having worked in an industrial occupation).
This last part is especially important, as many mesothelioma symptoms are indicative of other diseases as well.
American Cancer Society. "What Are The Risk Factors For Mesothelioma?"