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Talc joins asbestos as risk factor for cancer or mesothelioma

For a long time commercial buildings in Kentucky regularly included asbestos products in their construction to make buildings materials resistant to heat and fire. Subsequent damage or decay of materials could release asbestos fibers that workers breathed into their lungs. This exposure heightened the chance of developing mesothelioma, a serious cancer that invades the pleura or air sacs of lungs. Recently, researchers have begun to link talc exposure to mesothelioma and others cancers. Talc, like asbestos, is a naturally occurring substance, and it is sometimes mined in the same areas that produce asbestos.

Women more than men tend to use talc. As they apply the powder to their bodies, they could breathe in particles of talc and possibly asbestos. The talc connection partially explains the rising incidence of mesothelioma among women. Greater workforce participation among women has also increased their risk of asbestos exposure.

Workplace exposure to asbestos fibers had made mesothelioma more prevalent among men, but the questionable safety of talc personal care products has widened the circle of possibly harmful exposures. Mesothelioma gradually impedes a person's ability to function. Symptoms generally begin as shortness of breath and then involve pain and coughing up blood.

People exposed to asbestos at work might also spread the harmful fibers and particles among their family members if the substance remains on their clothes when they go home. Because asbestos-related illnesses often arise from workplace contamination, a person affected by cancer or mesothelioma might want an attorney's guidance when seeking damages through a personal injury or workers' compensation case. An attorney may strive to identify the responsible parties and connect the person with an independent medical evaluation to collect evidence for a lawsuit. The insights of an attorney might also help a person tally the long-term expenses for treating the disease.

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