Like the rest of the country, California residents might have believed that asbestos-related deaths were rare and on the decline. Recently, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data indicating that toxic exposure to asbestos remains a problem even today. In 1999, 2,479 people lost their lives to malignant mesothelioma, which is an asbestos-related disease. In 2015, that number rose to 2,579.
Those numbers represent a 4.8 percent increase during that time. While the majority of the victims are 85 years old and up, 682 of the deaths occurred in people between the ages of 25 and 44. The fact that the majority of the victims are elderly is not surprising, since the disease can incubate for anywhere between 10 and 50 years.
The more disturbing fact is that younger people are dying of mesothelioma despite the efforts of regulatory bodies to limit exposure to asbestos through work or the environment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues advisories regarding minimal exposure limits. Unfortunately, any exposure to asbestos could result in a California worker suffering from an asbestos-related disease. The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization continues to advocate for greater protections for those who could potentially be exposed to asbestos fibers.
Considering the fact that diagnosis of mesothelioma is challenging, a worker could be in the advanced stages of the disease without knowing. That should not deter anyone who receives this diagnosis from applying for workers’ compensation benefits, even though toxic exposure to asbestos fibers could have taken place years prior to contracting the disease. It should be noted that other asbestos-related conditions such as asbestosis exist for which the receipt of benefits might also be possible.
Source: The Huffington Post, “New CDC Data Confirms Mesothelioma Deaths Are On The Rise In U.S. Despite Decreased Asbestos Use“, Linda Reinstein, March 3, 2017