One of the most disturbing things about asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma is that symptoms can appear anywhere from 10-40 years after someone has been exposed to asbestos. Given this long latency period, many people think mesothelioma is an “older” disease that only affects high-risk groups like shipmakers or veterans exposed to asbestos in the military. Sadly, this is not always the case.
Earlier this week, we learned of the sad news that Sophie Ellis, Britain’s youngest ever victim of an asbestos-related disease, passed away after a lengthy battle with mesothelioma. Diagnosed at the young age of 13, Sophie defied doctors’ predictions that she had only months to live by battling the disease for five years.
According to reports, mesothelioma kills one person every five hours in Great Britain – the highest rate in the world.
This heartbreaking story shows that there is no such thing as “being too young to be exposed to asbestos.” There is no safe level of exposure, and despite the proven health risks, the material is still manufactured and used in many asbestos products in the U.S. today.
While we all extend our thoughts and best wishes to the Ellis family, we hope that this story provides an opportunity to raise awareness about this devastating disease and the need to ban asbestos altogether. Only by making our voices heard can we hope to protect public health and keep our families safe.
You can read the full story about Sophie Ellis at The Mirror (UK).