Knowledge About Hazardous Materials Remains Critical
To the Editor:
After reading one of your recent articles, “Community Development Officials Tapping Grants To Offset Project Costs,” there may be an area in which we can expand. You talked about the grant focused on the cleanup of hazardous materials at Fairfield Hills. Since this cleanup was a large investment, many may feel as though their tax dollars could be going to better use. To address these concerns, here is some clarification on the importance of a renovation.
Historically, many contractors and builders often overlooked the importance of public health when drafting and constructing buildings. Previously, companies rarely took into account the side effects of these materials being used because of their versatility and effectiveness.
Asbestos was one of these seemingly safe materials. Because of this, it was often used in professions like manufacturing and construction. Asbestos was considered a “miracle mineral” because of its durability, flexibility, and resistance to things like heat and chemicals. However, due to the consistent incorporation of asbestos and lack of knowledge, individuals were, and still have the potential of being, exposed to dangerous, cancer-developing materials.
While 66 countries have already banned asbestos, it is still allowed in the United States within certain quantities. Although the amounts allowed may be considered “trace,” any kind of exposure can pose a risk of developing severe ailments such as mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that can develop in the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Symptoms may take anywhere from 10 to 50 years to develop and, once diagnosed, the average life expectancy of patients is about 12 to 21 months. Although there is no current cure, there are many different options for treatment available.
Many are unaware that, because of the nature of mesothelioma, your risk of developing the disease can be mitigated with proper education and safety precautions. A good start is to help in increasing public awareness as well as doing your best to reduce your own exposure to hazardous materials. If you’re aware of the use or presence of harmful materials such as asbestos, be sure to report it to the proper authority or government official.
With the increasing knowledge surrounding hazardous materials like asbestos, the public can feel more secure knowing their safety is now being considered. But as the cliché goes, “We’re not out of the woods yet.” There is much research still to be done, so do your best to not only guard yourself and your loved ones against these cancer-causing agents, but to also make sure your tax dollars are being put to good use.
More information on mesothelioma can be found at mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma.
35 Thorpe Avenue, Suite 101, Wallingford February 10, 2020
Editor’s note: Mason Miranda is a contributing health writer to mesothelioma.com.