Like virtually all life threatening diseases, preventing exposure to the cause remains the best option. While this is undeniably true for mesothelioma, it is a mistake for those who suffered asbestos exposure to become resigned to the notion that they will develop this disease. While we all undergo exposure to asbestos on a daily basis, some individuals who experience significant rates of exposure may never develop the disease.
Lifestyle and Diet
For individuals who underwent known exposure, it is never too late to delay or prevent the development of mesothelioma. We now recognize the importance of a good diet and healthy lifestyle in preventing cancer, and this is true for mesothelioma as well. Maintaining a healthy body weight and abstaining from harmful substances, such as large quantities of alcohol and tobacco products, play a vital role in delaying or halting the onset of cancers. Furthermore, diets rich in certain nutrients, including antioxidants like vitamin A and E, are believed to lessen the risk of cancer development. Other evidence suggests dietary fibers possess strong anti-cancer properties as well.
Ultimately, individuals who suspect past asbestos exposure should be especially vigilant in monitoring their health and looking for any potential changes or issues that could signal the development of disease. Regular diagnostic tests, such as pulmonary function tests and x-rays, can help identify the signs of disease early and indicate possible lifestyle changes that can slow this onset.
For individuals who have undergone little or no known asbestos exposure, preventing contact with materials containing this mineral remains important. This is especially true for individuals undertaking renovation projects without professional assistance. In actuality, most forms of asbestos found in homes remain safely contained in the attics and walls, until reckless renovation exposes them. Older home construction products that the Environmental Protection Agency explains amateur home renovators may expose include:
- Asbestos-cement corrugated sheet
- Asbestos-cement pipe
- Asbestos-cement shingle
- Vinyl/asbestos floor tile
- Roofing felt
- Flooring felt
- Pipeline wrap
- Asbestos-cement flat sheet
- Roof coatings
Although federal regulation now mandates employers adequately protect workers from dangerous chemicals, including asbestos, this was not always the case. In fact, before the development of the Environmental Protection Agency, some companies knew of the dangers of asbestos exposure to their workers, yet chose to not make accommodations for their safety. Furthermore, some companies actually attempted to downplay or conceal the lethal results of exposure they witnessed.
Despite current regulation, some companies and employers still fail to properly protect or warn employees of potential asbestos exposure. Reports of employers asking untrained workers to remove asbestos materials, without protective equipment, are also common, even today. Therefore, it remains essential any worker who suspects potential asbestos exposure to wear proper protective gear. Furthermore, clothing worn while working with these materials should be left at the site, as asbestos particles can attach and travel home with workers, infecting those living at their home as well. Most mesothelioma cases arise because of workplace exposure, making it essential workers in professions with exposure risks take the initiative and not wait for their employer to provide the vital safety measures they deserve.