The fibers released by materials containing asbestos can be particularly dangerous once inhaled. Across Missouri, many individuals who came into contact either through work or other activities have been exposed to large quantities of the mineral. Asbestos was thought of as a great material for construction during the early to mid 1900s. Its fire resistant properties made it ideal in a variety of situations. Commonly used in houses and commercial buildings, the number of people exposed is staggering.

Overall, NIH statistics show that Missouri ranks 31st in mortality caused by asbestos-related mesothelioma. That means for every one million people in the state, only 11.35 will die from the disease. It is important to note, however, that the actual number could be much larger. Across the country, researchers believe that many patients’ inability to link previous exposure with their current illness keeps these numbers much lower than what they actually should be. Though unfortunate as it may seem, many citizens simply don’t know they were exposed to asbestos, or think that it has had no effect on them.

Not everybody who came in contact with the material will develop mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases. For those that do, however, symptoms can take a very long time to develop. When the material was banned in the 1980s, new rules and regulations were put in place that governed how it can be removed. Anybody working or coming in contact with the carcinogen must wear a mask and other protective garments. Unfortunately, prior to this time individuals rarely if ever wore protective gear that could have prevented inhalation.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the pleural lining of organs like the lungs and stomach. Though it is very rare, citizens of Missouri have been affected by the disease. For those that are lucky enough to be diagnosed early, there is a better chance of survival. Being aware of past exposure is essential for determining the likelihood of future problems.  In Missouri, workers at power plants, chemical manufacturers, and automobile assembly plants are at the highest risk of developing this deadly cancer.