April 1st – 7th is Asbestos Awareness week, a topic I didn’t know much about until recently. About two weeks ago I was approached by a lovely lady named Heather. At 36 years old, and 3 1/2 months after the birth her baby girl Lily, she was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer that covers the lungs and is caused by contact with Asbestos. She came into contact with the substance through her father’s work jacket when she was only a child. To save her life, Heather had to undertake a drastic operation to remove her left lung. Luckily and amazingly she beat the odds and is still kicking butt 8 years later.
I found that according to Cancer Research UK, more than 2,500 people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma every year in the UK. Horrifyingly, this number is expected to rise due to the heavy use of Asbestos during World War 2 and the 1970s. 9/10 men and 8/10 women are at risk.Said risk increases greatly if exposed in large amount at an early age for long period of time, though some victims have claimed never to have had any history of any direct exposure. The people considered most at risk are those in the building or ship building industry, manufacturers of household appliances (such as ovens, hair dryers, irons and toasters),those in the motor industry, and carpenters, among others. Navy Veterans are also considered extremely at risk due to the Asbestos used in the boats.
Now lucky for me, I live in the UK where Asbestos use has been completely outlawed since 1999 but it is still partially legal in the US. It’s estimated that 30 million pounds (13.6 kilotons) are still used every year.
Personally, I would like to see Asbestos use stopped and outlawed in America, for everyone’s sake. Because if one person has been exposed, more can be exposed through them, children or adults. We have the technology and the ability to research into a safer material. So why not? Hearing Heather’s story opened my eyes and I’d like to support her fight to raise awareness for Mesothelioma victims. And so I wrote this blog, hoping to raise awareness for a noble cause. I hope you guys found this as educational as I did.
Here’s a link to Heather’s blog about her experiences fighting Mesothelioma:
Some other helpful links about Asbestos and Mesothelioma: