From 1940-1979, it is estimated that roughly 230,000 deaths were caused by asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma. During this period of 40 years, more than 30 million tons of asbestos was used in U.S. homes, schools, and commercial buildings, as well as in the industrial sector including power plants, shipyards and steel mills. While this hazardous substance is currently banned in countries such as Australia , Argentina , Chile , Croatia and Saudi Arabia , several countries such as Russia and Canada still mine asbestos. And, in the United States , the substance is strictly regulated, but is not totally banned.
Because you can still find products today in the U.S. that contain asbestos, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), nearly 10,000 asbestos-related deaths still occur each year. While asbestos is no longer a common building material in America , this dangerous substance can still be found in thousands of different products and materials. Keep in mind that asbestos had been used in more than 3,000 products from 1900-1980.
Asbestos can be found in everything from asphalt, boilers, cable, and clay to sheets, vinyl floor tile, wick and yarn. Yarn is a fine cord of twisted fibers made up of cotton, silk, wood, nylon or other fibrous materials, that is used in arts & crafts, knitting, sewing weaving, and in the production of textiles and ropemaking. Yarn has a variety of different weights and thickness, and it consists of several different types including spun yarn, filament yarn and texturized yarns. Inhaling the fibers or dust associated with asbestos-containing yarn can cause mesothelioma.
The period between the time of exposure to asbestos, whether it is through the use asbestos-containing yarn or any other asbestos-containing products, and the onset of symptoms is estimated at 20 to 50 years. Because of this, most mesothelioma cases are diagnosed much later in life. There are several symptoms that may point to mesothelioma including shortness of breath (dyspnea), a build-up of too much fluid between the pleura (the linings of the lungs and chest) called pleural effusion, and pain in the chest, abdomen, shoulder, or arm. Depending on the type of mesothelioma, weight loss may also occur as well as anemia, fever and bowel obstruction.
Mesothelioma may be diagnosed through physical examination, a chest x-ray or complete blood count (CBC), sedimentation rate, a bronchoscopy, cytologic exam, or biopsy. Traditional treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.