Asbestos and Mesothelioma

There are many concerns with the use of fossil fuels. Here is one about asbestos and mesothelioma that we do not generally think about when we drive to the fuel pump.

This article has been donated by the Mesothelioma Center, a US organisation. The facts given relate mainly to the US but also have a wider application. Asbestos and mesothelioma is a "live" issue, which deserves wider recognition.

Some of the original research into asbestos and oil refineries was conducted in Italy by Dr Valerio Gennaro. In 1994 his team concluded that

"...pleural mesotheliomas should be considered an occupational disease among oil refinery workers."

The dangerous forms of asbestos found in oil refinery pipework, brake linings and a good many public buildings still continue to pose a threat more than a generation after their industrial use was discontinued.

There are 2,000 to 3,000 cases of this horrible disease diagnosed in the US each year.

Here is the article on asbestos and mesothelioma.

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Going green - good for the environment, good for our health

The "going green" trend is everywhere, and as consumers, it is very worthwhile to get on board. We may not be able to control many things - the price of gas, or the state of our economy, for example.

But we can control the products we buy and how we use them. We have a choice when it comes to the source of our fuel and energy, and now is a perfect time to consider alternative sources, such as ethanol fuel and solar power for energy.

Reasons to support alternative energy strategies

Why alternative energy?

Consider this: the United States is currently home to 150 operational on-shore oil refineries. The vast majority of the fuel we use begins as crude oil that is imported and then refined here in these refineries.

Although our dependence on U.S. refineries provides a source of income for thousands of Americans, the vast majority of people have no idea of how devastating the environmental and health consequences of utilizing domestic refineries really are.

U.S. refineries release millions of pounds of harmful pollutants into the air each year, including mercury, sulfuric acid and benzene, and what is equally disturbing is the amount of deadly asbestos found in every single refinery. Exposure to asbestos has long been connected to the development of mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that has no cure.

Old piping poses an increasing risk

The final U.S. refinery was constructed in 1976, a few years before the federal government instituted asbestos usage regulations in an attempt to decrease the harmful health effects of asbestos. Prior to these regulations, asbestos was widely used for pipe insulation because it is an excellent insulator, and it was the perfect choice for use in oil refineries because they contained extensive piping systems.

At that time builders and refinery designers were unaware of the potentially fatal consequences of using large amounts of asbestos.

For many workers who had been employed in U.S. refineries these consequences would manifest decades later, in many cases after the workers had retired.

Risks to workers and nearby residents

As asbestos-containing products age, they are prone to corrosion, and tiny asbestos fibers can be released into the air, putting workers at risk of inhalation.

In addition, if an asbestos-laden refinery is damaged by a fire or explosion, asbestos fibers and dust can also become airborne. If inhaled, asbestos fibers can cling to the pleural lining of the lungs for as many as 50 years before an afflicted individual (such as an oil refinery worker) may begin to suffer from common mesothelioma symptoms, such as difficulty breathing and painful cough.

And what is truly alarming is that residents living near to a domestic refinery also face a serious risk of inhalation after a fire or explosion, as asbestos fibers and dust can travel on the wind for several miles.

Mesothelioma - an almost certain death sentence

Mesothelioma is generally considered a death sentence, and less than 1% of patients survive longer than 2 years following diagnosis. There is no cure, and mesothelioma treatment methods are only a temporary means of controlling symptoms and pain.*

Despite the seriousness of this aggressive type of cancer, it is important that we understand that mesothelioma is absolutely preventable if we avoid exposure to asbestos.


*However, there are developments in treatment which now offer some hope for sufferers. One lady I know of has remained cancer free for nine years since her diagnosis and treatment. She recommends the as a very helpful organisation for winning the battle for compensation from the billions of funds now available in the US for those affected by mesothelioma resulting from workplace contamination. - Editor

Another reason to support alternative fuels?

As consumers, if we begin to use alternative energy and fuel sources, we will decrease the need for domestic refineries. This will decreasing not only the amount of pollutants released on a yearly basis, but also make a drastic decrease in the number of individuals who will be exposed to asbestos and develop mesothelioma cancer.

This article on asbestos and mesothelioma with thanks to


You may also be interested in these pages which relate to asbestos and mesothelioma.

Asbestos use in the US military - still causing problems


Asbestos and Mesothelioma - TOP

Green Car and Truck - Transport and Fuel

Greenfootsteps Home - for more easy green living ideas

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

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