Homes and buildings built before the mid-1980s are likely to contain some asbestos products, which could expose property owners and construction workers to the asbestos fibers that cause mesothelioma cancer. The best way to avoid asbestos exposure is to be knowledgeable about the materials that may contain asbestos. It can be found in products such as textured paint, concrete framework, plumbing, guttering, and roofing, and more.

If asbestos is suspected in a home or building, it’s important for owners to hire a professional to collect samples, perform testing, and remove it. Although professionals are aware of the many physical hazards in their field, the less obvious risk for most is harmful asbestos exposure. Former construction workers are at least five times more likely to develop mesothelioma than the general population. Australia also has the second-highest mesothelioma death rate in the world, trailing on that of the United Kingdom.

Mesothelioma is the form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure that primarily forms in the lining of the lungs and abdomen. It’s caused when inhaled asbestos fibers stick to the lining of the lungs and into mesothelioma tumors. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease which accounts for more than 75% of all cases. The prognosis for those with mesothelioma is quite poor. Because of the long latency period of the disease, about 20-50 years, many do not even know they have the disease until it is too late. For this reason, it’s even more imperative for property owners and construction workers to be aware of the risks of asbestos exposure, and how they can stay safe.

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