I was born in NYC in 1960. Asbestos was commonly used then. Asbestos was believed to be safe by consumers. The most common forms of asbestos products used included pipe and boiler insulation, joint taping compounds and brake linings. Other asbestos products made with asbestos included cements, mortars, gaskets and tapes.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral mined in the past for the most part. Asbestos fibers were used to bind materials together and added other benefits. Asbestos products were available commercially in the United States through the 1990s’s.
Sadly, it was known in the medical community that asbestos caused cancer by the 1930s and 1940s. When I learned about this, I decided to dedicate my professional life to help people with asbestos cancers. I believe that these cancers were preventable, and that people were taken advantage of to allow companies to make money.
I was fortunate to be attend Washington University Law School in St. Louis, Missouri from 1984-1987. During this time period, I received two calls from close friends who shared with me that their fathers had been diagnosed with mesothelioma. They explained to me that this was a signature cancer… where there is only one known cause… the inhalation of dust created from the use of asbestos containing materials.
In my first blog, I write about the first of these calls, which was from a friend’s dad, just diagnosed with mesothelioma, who was a dentist. At the time of his diagnosis, he ran marathons. After numerous conversations, his asbestos exposure was traced back to his time in dental school. I then first learned there is a lengthy latency period with asbestos cancer. This means that asbestos cancer is first observed years after asbestos inhalation.
This gifted dentist used asbestos tape while he was in dental school in New York about 25 to 30 years prior to his diagnosis. Dentists were taught a procedure that required the use of asbestos tape in dental school. Dentists and their technicians used asbestos tape until the late 1970’s in a manner that created visible, inhalable asbestos dust.
Oddly enough, a few years later (1991), a famous medical journal, Lancet, wrote an article about dentists who unfortunately were diagnosed with mesothelioma after using asbestos in dental school or practice. The asbestos tape used came on rolls and was cut, torn by hand and scraped, often in small, enclosed environments, creating visible dust. Since it is commonly accepted that asbestos is dangerous when visible dust is created from its intended use, I do not understand why asbestos tape was sold to dentists until almost the end of the 1970’s.
Sadly enough, we are starting to see many more dentists in the last few years with mesothelioma due to the latency period. I have extensively researched this area and am available for consultations with dentists and dental technicians diagnosed with mesothelioma regarding obtaining compensation for their illness.
Note: The American Journal of Industrial Medicine (Volume 60, Issue 5 / p.437-442) published an excellent case report by experts in asbestos exposure and disease on February 28, 2017. This article provides more details and facts about dentists with mesothelioma.