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Crane and Hoist Men - Mesothelioma Risks

Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive cancer that affects the mesothelium - the thin tissue that lines the heart, lungs, and abdominal cavity. Many studies have shown that the disease is caused by asbestos exposure. In fact, approximately 90 percent of all mesothelioma cases have been linked to asbestos exposure. The other 10 percent of cases usually have suspected, but unconfirmed exposure to the material.

The most common place for exposure to asbestos to occur is in the workplace, specifically in and around construction sites. This is because asbestos was often used as a construction material. Asbestos is extremely durable, highly resistant to heat and electricity, and can withstand strong chemicals. It was therefore used for centuries as insulation around pipes, wires, hot water heaters, and in the walls and ceilings of homes, schools, and office buildings.

Furthermore, asbestos becomes a large health risk when it is disturbed. It is still currently installed in many structures across the nation, but it poses little to no health risk for any inhabitants. When a structure is being worked on, however, tiny asbestos fibers can break off and be suspended like fine dust in the air. Any worker that works in or around a construction site is therefore usually at a relatively high risk of asbestos exposure and of developing mesothelioma.

When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they lodge themselves in the deepest parts of the lungs and in the mesothelium that surrounds the chest cavity. There, they cause damage to the DNA of healthy mesothelial cells, and cause them to turn into malignant mesothelioma cells. These cells begin to grow rapidly and in an unorganized way, forming a tumor. This tumor may eventually invade organs like the heart and lungs, causing them to shut down.

Crane and hoist men often work in construction sites that contain asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency once estimated that hundreds of thousands of buildings were installed with the material over the decades following World War II. If you worked as a crane or hoist operator prior to the 1980s, chances are that you were exposed.

Additionally, any new crane or hoist operators that are working on old buildings that have asbestos installed may be exposing themselves to the deadly material. Asbestos that is left in place is not a health risk, so it remains present in thousands of homes, factories, and schools. Any renovation or demolition work being done on these buildings is bound to release asbestos fibers into the atmosphere, where they can easily be inhaled.

If you believe that you have been exposed to asbestos, talk to your doctor. Mesothelioma is ultimately fatal. However, as with any cancer, early detection will lead to a good prognosis. If your doctor knows that you have been exposed to asbestos, he or she will keep a very close eye on your respiratory health, and will catch the cancer as the first symptoms begin to display themselves. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and possibly even surgery can then be performed to increase your expected survival time and the quality of your life.

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Workers at Risk for Asbestos Exposure

Below are a list of occupations and trades that were at risk for asbestos exposure:

Last Edited: Thu November 14, 2013