Global Asbestos Awareness Week (GAAW) is going on now. This initiative takes place annually from April 1st to 7th and is organized by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), a group dedicated to fighting for asbestos bans and raising awareness.

Mesothelioma patients already know that they were exposed to asbestos at some point so avoiding it now may seem pointless. However, knowing the source of your asbestos exposure is often priceless information to have for the battle against mesothelioma.

By raising awareness about asbestos and where it is found, events like GAAW help mesothelioma patients learn more about where they may have been exposed.

Why it Matters Where You Were Exposed

In many cases, mesothelioma patients are eligible for compensation which could help pay for expensive treatments or other daily living expenses. Some types of compensation depend on where and how you were exposed to asbestos.

These cases rely on holding the correct companies or organizations responsible for your exposure. It’s helpful to have a solid understanding about where asbestos is found in order to evaluate where you were exposed.

  • Legal Cases

    Many mesothelioma patients need to use legal means to get compensation. In order for lawyers to file claims against a company, they need to know where their client was exposed to asbestos. Knowing where you were exposed will help the process. If you are unsure of where you may have come in contact with asbestos, a proficient mesothelioma lawyer will help research your history for possible exposure.

  • Veteran’s Assistance

    To file for VA Disability Compensation (VADC) a mesothelioma patient needs to know their history of asbestos exposure. An important part of the process is writing an exposure summary describing everywhere you may have come in contact with asbestos in military and civilian jobs. Your mesothelioma is considered a “service-related” disability if at least 50% of your exposure occurred in the military as opposed to your civilian jobs.

  • Occupational Exposure

    In some cases, mesothelioma patients qualify for worker’s compensation. Worker’s compensation laws vary by state and federal employees qualify for federal worker’s compensation. In order to qualify for worker’s compensation you would need to know which jobs you had that may have exposed you. This is especially useful if you still work at the company at which you were exposed.

Where Were You Exposed to Asbestos?

For many mesothelioma patients, their asbestos exposure was obvious. Anyone who worked at an asbestos mine will know they probably were exposed at work. On the other hand, many people didn’t work with asbestos directly and aren’t sure where they came in contact with it.

Some occupations involve working around asbestos-containing materials regularly, putting them at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos is fire-resistant and durable so it can be found in a wide variety of building materials and industrial products.

Common occupation groups at risk include:

  • Military (Especially Navy)
  • Construction
  • Maintenance and Installation
  • Mining

Some Common Asbestos Sources:

  • Gaskets
  • Insulation
  • Roofing
  • Automobile Parts

Occasionally, a patient’s asbestos exposure is more difficult to identify. Asbestos was found in a wide variety of seemingly harmless products. This includes kitchen supplies, beauty and cosmetic products, and art supplies.

One unexpected group affected by mesothelioma is school teachers. Many older schools have been built using asbestos products. Not only that, but there are some asbestos-containing school supplies that teachers and students used in the past and may still be using today.

An Italian study investigated one teacher’s case and found that she worked with a modeling clay in her classes that contained asbestos. Some other teachers’ mesothelioma cases have been connected to pinning up student’s work on asbestos-containing walls and bulletin boards.

Some Unexpected Asbestos Sources:

  • Fake Snow/Christmas Decorations
  • Modeling Clay
  • Talcum Powder
  • Hair Dryers

Global Asbestos Awareness Week was created to help ban asbestos and prevent diseases like mesothelioma. GAAW is a great opportunity for mesothelioma patients to learn more about the cause of their condition. More information about GAAW is available on the ADAO website.

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    Sources & Author

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About the Writer, Jamie Iovino

Jamie Iovino is the senior writer at Mesothelioma Guide. She creates and edits pages to make sure mesothelioma patients and their families receive the newest and most accurate information about mesothelioma.