Does Mesothelioma only affect older adults?
While it’s true that most mesothelioma patients are older – typically in their 60’s or beyond – that doesn’t mean that mesothelioma age is only older adults or will be the only ones diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases.
Children as young as 13 have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and many young adults in their 20s to 30s have been struck by asbestos illnesses. In fact, asbestos can make anyone sick.
In part nine of our 12 part campaign to reveal asbestos myths, we’ll tell you about how asbestos impacts younger people.
Myth – Asbestos Mesothelioma Age is in Older Adults
Fact – The youngest known victim of mesothelioma in the US was diagnosed at age 13 and lived in the mining town of Libby, Montana where vermiculite asbestos was mined. Although there are few people that have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in their teens, those that were also died in their teens or early 20s.
Fact – Many young people whose parents worked in high risk asbestos exposure industries were made sick from second hand exposure to asbestos fibers, likely from the work clothes of their parents or from hugs and physical contact with a parent that came home with asbestos fibers on them.
Fact – In addition to second hand exposure from parents, young people may be exposed to asbestos in their school, environmental asbestos or asbestos in chalk, crayons, clay or other household items. Even homes themselves could be a source of asbestos exposure.
Fact – One young victim who died from mesothelioma at age 25, Adam Sager, was believed to have been exposed during home renovations in an older home he lived in as a young child. Because asbestos fibers are invisible to the naked eye, renovations can release dangerous dust and fibers that you can’t see and can’t know that exposure has occurred.
Fact – A number of adults in their 30s and 40s, most who grew up in mining towns, continue to be diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases from childhood exposure. Some of these victims did not have parents that worked in mines, but were exposed through other means in the town.
Fact – WR Grace, a mining company in Montana, donated asbestos-infected materials to build school running tracks, baseball pitches and even an ice skating rink in town that may have exposed many children to asbestos. This company’s officers faced criminal charges, but the statute of limitations helped them evade justice.
Fact – People who grew up in asbestos mining towns have an exponentially greater risk of developing lung disorders – up to 50 to 60 times greater than the average diagnosis rate for these diseases.
Fact – Although asbestos mines have all been closed now – most by 1990 – it’s anticipated that new cases of mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer will continue to be diagnosed for another 15-20 years in mine workers, their families and those who lived in the mining towns.
Fact – Women under the age of 50 are being diagnosed with mesothelioma in increasing numbers – these are women who have had no direct on-the-job exposure themselves.
Fact – Nearly all cases of mesothelioma are tied to asbestos exposure – more than 90% of cases can be causally linked to the deadly fiber, even in cases of younger victims.
Fact – Other asbestos-related illnesses that have been diagnosed in younger victims include pleural plaques and asbestosis.
No matter your age or if you never worked in a high-risk industry, if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you likely were exposed to asbestos sometime in your life.
Bergman Draper Oslund handles more mesothelioma cases than any other firm in the Pacific Northwest and has compiled extensive research on asbestos exposure sites and occurrences and may be able to help you find the answers you need about your illness.
We have won more than $700 million for asbestos victims and our practice is solely focused on advocacy efforts for sufferers of mesothelioma illness.