How Much Asbestos Exposure Causes Mesothelioma and What You Can Do

If you’ve recently discovered that you’ve been exposed to asbestos, you may wonder: How much asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma? Excess exposure to asbestos is absolutely cause for concern; however, there is no guarantee one will develop mesothelioma. Still, it’s essential to become aware of the potential health risks involved with long-term asbestos exposure, as well as what you can do if you think you’ve been exposed. 

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The risk of developing mesothelioma is based on the length of exposure, age, lifestyle choices, and your prior work or living environment. For many years, asbestos was widely used as a building material due to its ability to resist heat and fire. However, this notable additive, often used in insulation, ceiling, and floor tiles, is hazardous to breathe in if airborne. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that can become embedded in the body's tissues when inhaled or ingested. 


The tricky part about this microscopic enemy is that it can be found anywhere, including where you work or the very home you live in each day. Asbestos was permitted for use in residential spaces for buildings constructed between the 1930s and 1970s. Thankfully, many workers and residential owners can live with asbestos safely, and there are many preventative measures to take. But for those exposed to this dangerous toxin for lengthy periods of time, the risk of harmful health hazards like mesothelioma is possible. 

Who Is at Risk? 

Anyone with long-term exposure to asbestos is at risk; however, research has found that men 65 and older with a past work background in constructionthe military, or firefighting are most at risk for developing mesothelioma. In fact, of 2,681 mesothelioma cases reported by in 2020, men accounted for 1,900 cases, while women accounted for significantly less, at 781 cases. 

How Much Asbestos Exposure Causes Mesothelioma?

So, how much asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma? Between 8 to 13% of people exposed to long-term asbestos develop mesothelioma, averaging about 1 in 1,000 cases each year in the United States. To make matters worse, there is typically a long latency period between exposure and the onset of disease, with reports finding cases 20 to 60 years after exposure. So, while you may be able to live with mesothelioma for an extended period, you won't recognize the detrimental health effects until many years later.


It’s important to note that mesothelioma may be confused with lung cancer upon a first diagnosis. However, there are key indicators of mesothelioma, which include fluid buildup in the space around the lungs (pleural effusion) or in the abdomen (ascites). The fluid can be tested for cancer cells and is usually the first step to diagnosing mesothelioma, with a biopsy to follow to confirm. 


Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, but treatment options are available to help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life while living with this fatal disease.

Preventing Mesothelioma: What You Can Do

The best way to prevent mesothelioma is to reduce the risk of asbestos exposure. For workers, asbestos is now regulated in the United States, minimizing exposure. But if you work in an environment where you think you may be exposed, wear personal protective equipment (PPE), disposable gloves, and coveralls to prevent any fibers from traveling into your airways. 

an image of exposed asbestos fibers.

Further, if you plan on renovating a residential space, consider having your home tested for asbestos first. The best way to tell if there is asbestos in your home is to determine the year your home was built. Homes built before the 1970s are likely the most at risk. Additionally, if you notice any cracked tiles or crumbling drywall, that could be an indication that asbestos has gone airborne. 


Another way to prevent mesothelioma is by recognizing symptoms, particularly if you have a known exposure to asbestos. Identifying possible symptoms can improve the chances of obtaining the earliest possible diagnosis. Early diagnosis can result in more effective mesothelioma treatment options. Some signs of mesothelioma include the following: 


  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Respiratory infection
  • Pain in the lower back or side of the chest
  • Shortness of breath or painful breathing
  • Sudden and unexplained weight loss
  • Bowel and digestive difficulties
  • Swelling and fluid buildup

Development of mesothelioma can be scary, but recognizing the symptoms and preventing asbestos exposure wherever possible can help reduce the risk of a diagnosis. 

Getting The Help You Need With Cooney and Conway

When wondering how much asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, it really is determined on a case-by-case basis. Consider your living or working environment, length of exposure, and whether you’ve been experiencing any symptoms. If so, contact a healthcare professional immediately to determine if you are at risk for mesothelioma. 


Don't let the fear of uncertainty paralyze you. If mesothelioma has already become a reality for you due to asbestos exposure, it's imperative to know that you're not alone and legal avenues are available to support you through this challenging time. Pursuing a claim with a specialized mesothelioma lawyer can provide you with the means to cover medical treatments and secure the financial well-being of your loved ones.


The path ahead may seem daunting, but taking these steps can significantly impact your ability to manage the risks associated with asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. Act now. Reach out to us for a complimentary case evaluation. Your health, your rights, and your future deserve protection. Contact us today and take the first step towards safeguarding your well-being and securing the compensation you deserve.