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Mesothelioma and asbestos risks feared in Massachusetts flooding cleanup

May 22nd, 2006

Recent flooding in the Merrimack Valley has caused a secondary problem: Building owners must be careful not to create an environmental hazard when removing materials, especially those containing asbestos.

Although owners of homes and businesses may be tempted to remediate as soon as possible, they have been warned about the dangers, since cutting out moldy walls and ripping up flooring finishes can release asbestos, which has been linked to the deadly cancer, mesothelioma.

Those materials must be removed and disposed of in accordance with federal and state regulations. Otherwise, owners might face long delays in reoccupying their buildings, not to mention health risks involved. Their buildings are likely to contain asbestos because it has been used in a wide range of products, such as: wall and ceiling plaster, textured ceiling finishes, fireproofing, cement board products, joint compound applied to gypsum board, fire-rated doors, floor tile, thermal insulation and various construction adhesives.

Building owners in need of these repairs are advised to engage a company that is licensed and certified to do the work. Otherwise, the chance of asbestos exposure goes up and thus the chance of a mesothelioma diagnosis, although it often takes years if not decades to be manifested.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for decades. But exposure to asbestos has been proven to greatly increase a person’s chance of getting mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer. Each year, nearly 10,000 people (including 3,000 in the United States alone) receive a mesothelioma diagnosis.

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    MesotheliomaAsbestosisLung cancerSilicosis

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