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Asbestos to blame for more deaths than previously thought

According to the International Commission of Occupational Health, asbestos-related occupational diseases are more common than past estimates lead people to believe. In 2016, these diseases led to 222,321 deaths worldwide, including 39,275 cases in America. Pennsylvania residents can compare this with the estimates from the International Health Organization and World Health Organization, which put the number between 105,000 and 110,000.

This discrepancy is caused by a couple of factors. First, many countries underreport their number of cancer cases and never bother to detail the causes. This is important because asbestos exposure, contrary to popular belief, does not only lead to mesothelioma. It actually causes six times more occurrences of lung cancer. Asbestos exposure is also connected with ovarian and larynx cancer.

The second factor is that improved methods for identifying asbestos-related lung cancer now exist. Previously, oncologists would attribute lung cancer more or less to smoking. It should be kept in mind that smokers exposed to this toxic mineral are the most prone to developing lung cancer.

ICOH stresses the need for an adequate response to this crisis. While more than 62 countries have banned the substance, more than 100 have not. Many developing nations rely on asbestos, though ICOH rejects the idea that they have no viable alternatives. The organization also states that in Europe and the U.S., not enough is being done about asbestos in existing structures.

When long-term exposure to the mineral leads to health conditions, victims can retain a workers' comp attorney and have their case evaluated. If victims can prove that their condition is work related and accurately measure the extent of their injuries, they could receive benefits covering their medical expenses and any disability leave. Some individuals could even opt for a settlement, formally known as a compromise and release agreement. A lawyer can handle each step of the process, including the appeal if necessary.

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