Radiation and chemicals other than asbestos, such as erionite, are some of the primary non-asbestos causes of mesothelioma, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Mesothelioma is a terminal illness associated with cancerous growth in the body’s epithelial lining. There are roughly 43,000 mesothelioma deaths annually worldwide, per the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 2,597 Mesothelioma-linked deaths for the United States in 2015. These sources report a steady climb in the number of cases of mesothelioma, as the latency period after suffering exposure to such risk factors can last years or decades.
Mesothelioma Unrelated to Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma refers to cancerous growth in the epithelial lining between and around the body’s organs. Of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, roughly one in five had not suffered exposure to asbestos, according to the WHO.
Pollutants Different Than Asbestos
Other than asbestos, causes of mesothelioma include zeolites. It is possible for small pollutants, which are different from asbestos, to enter the body and cause health issues. For example, researchers from the National Cancer Institute consider it likely that carbon nanotubes, if inhaled, would behave similarly to asbestos in the body.
Erionite and Mesothelioma
Erionite is a natural material that exists in parts of the United States, and researchers from the National Cancer Institute found that it may increase the risk of contracting mesothelioma. Erionite is composed of tiny particles of rock, which look like cloudy chalk and can become stuck in the body if inhaled. As those tiny rock particles sit in the body, they damage the DNA of the area, leading to malignant mesothelioma.
Researchers discovered outcroppings of naturally-occurring erionite in various states of the western US. If you traveled to the western US and inhaled naturally-occurring erionite dust, you may be at increased risk of contracting mesothelioma.
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Radiation and Mesothelioma
Radiation may also account for some people’s mesothelioma diagnosis, even if they did not suffer exposure to asbestos. Here are some ways people might be exposed to radiation:
- Radiation therapy for pre-existing cancer
- Receiving CT scans
- Undergoing X-Ray scans
- Occupational exposure
Mesothelioma sometimes results from radioactivity, and the damage that they can do to the body’s DNA warrants precaution. Radioactive particles and waves are so small that they penetrate deep into the cell nucleus.
Earth’s volcanic activity is powered by radioactivity inside the planet, and stars also emit radioactive particles that hit our planet’s surface. But the natural environment does not typically produce enough radiation to damage our cells beyond their reparable rate.
Radiation becomes a problem when too much occurs in a small amount of time, and the body’s DNA suffers severe damage in the affected area or areas. By passing through the cell’s protective layers due to their tiny size, radioactive particles collide with the DNA molecules, knocking out some genetic information. With too much radiation, the body can easily develop malignant mesothelioma.
Why Asbestos Was Once Popular
Asbestos is a durable, tiny, heat-resistant fiber that damages soft tissue in the body upon inhalation or other contact. The body has no way of breaking down asbestos, and due to the small size of the fibers, they travel through the bloodstream. After a thorough medical analysis, research from the WHO shows that some mesothelioma patients do not have any history of possible asbestos exposure.
To combat the risk of fires, asbestos was introduced as a popular flame-resistant insulation for buildings, offices, and homes in the 20th century. Asbestos was widely used in the middle of the 20th century as retail building material for insulation, siding, and roofing.
If you were wondering what causes mesothelioma other than asbestos, you are not alone. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm provides free legal consultations where you can share your information and determine your legal rights.
Possible Legal Action Regarding Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a serious disease and affects families across the nation. Mesothelioma may result from factors such as legal negligence of an employer, real property owner, or another responsible party.
If you believe that yourself or a member of your family received a mesothelioma diagnosis and it was due to the fault of another, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is ready to hear your story.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 for your free case evaluation.