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Molders - Mesothelioma Risks

Among those with a high risk for contracting the asbestos cancer mesothelioma are molders. Molders are workers who operate machinery or use equipment in order to pour heated or liquid materials - such as plastics - into molds. When the plastic or material is cooled and removed from the mold, it produces a consumer good or product. Unfortunately, however, very many of these products would have contained asbestos particulate in the past, which means that the workers are at risk for the many illnesses and diseases that are associated with this toxic material.

Asbestos was once widely used in many different capacities, for both industrial and consumer products. It has some amazing abilities, including the ability to resist extremely high temperatures and open flame, to remain stable throughout a wide variety of chemical and biological processes, and to add tensile strength to other substances and products when it is part of a compound admixture.

Nevertheless, asbestos can also be very dangerous. An organically occurring mineral, it is composed of long, thin fibers, which can be separated into millions of microscopic, yet still sharp particles. These particles can enter the human body through respiration or ingestion. Once inside, they can settle deep within the body's tissues, particularly in a membrane which lines the chest and abdominal cavities and also surrounds the internal organs, called the mesothelium.

The mesothelium works by producing a special fluid that enables the lungs and other organs to move. When it is invaded by the asbestos particulate, it develops malignant cells that can divide and multiply erratically. These cells eventually develop into malignant pleural mesothelioma, or another form of mesothelioma cancer.

When mesothelioma is diagnosed, it has usually already advanced to a later stage, rendering it inoperable. This is because of the extremely long latency period associated with mesothelioma. It may not be diagnosed for up to 50 years after the patient was initially exposed to the asbestos-containing materials or asbestos dust. By the time the individual learns that he or she has the disease, it may well be too late for their oncologist to do anything but suggest remedies for pain relief or other palliative care.

Another devastating aspect of mesothelioma is that it can be contracted through second-hand exposure to asbestos. Since the airborne asbestos material is so fine, it can easily settle on and cling to a person's clothes or hair. This means that anyone who comes into contact with a worker who themselves has been in an asbestos-contaminated environment - especially if the contact is repeated or prolonged, as would happen in families - can be at risk for developing mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.

The symptoms of mesothelioma, which may be easily mistaken for the symptoms of other respiratory illnesses, include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, coughing up blood, fatigue or lack of energy, chest pain, and any other difficulty in drawing breath. If you have worked as a molder or in any other industrial capacity, or have lived with someone who has, you should inform your doctor of this potential previous exposure to asbestos and carefully monitor your own health for the symptoms of mesothelioma.

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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