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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Work for economic justice.

Last night, some friends and I watched Life and Debt. It's such a great film, an excellent critique of how the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are destroying Jamaica's economy in ways that simultaneously support, stabilize and encourage economic growth in countries like the US. Unfortunately, the economic situation in Jamaica is similar to that of many other countries, so Life and Debt serves as an modern economic biography not only of Jamaica, but of many of the countries in the global South and elsewhere.

I posted about this documentary once before, but at the time, I'd only seen the first third of the film and was frustrated because I didn't know how to resist or subvert these world financial organizations that only seem to exaggerate economic disparities and counteract efforts at social justice. I did not have an answer to the question this blog poses, "So what can I do?" But, thankfully, in the months since, I've come up with lots of ideas. Here are just a few:

* Buy local food and goods. Not only do you support your local economy, but you get fresher and better food.

* Volunteer your time and skills with an organization that works toward economic and social justice.

* Engage the media and hold them accountable for the stories they choose to present and the ways in which they present them.

* Pay off your debts so you'll have more money to support the causes that really matter and the organizations that make a difference.

* Shop with a purpose for the things you need and support your favorite non-profit organization at the same time.

* Invest responsibly so that your money is not used to increase economic disparities but instead is used to acheive economic justice.

* Buy fair trade food and goods from companies that pay their workers a living wage and do not rely on sweatshops.

* Live ethically and do the right thing even when it's unpopular, uncommon, unexpected or inconvenient; make sure your lifestyle reflects your values.

In the coming weeks, I will discuss some of the many organizations that are listed as resources in the Life and Debt DVD liner notes. These groups work for social justice and will give us numerous ways to get involved and make a difference. Learn more about free trade and fair trade, debt and development, globalization and democratization, and more. Sign up for free electronic newsletters and action alerts that will periodically remind you of the work that needs to be done and tell you how to do it. Engage in letter-writing, boycotts, and other campaigns to change economic policy in the US and elsewhere. Most importantly, take the small steps that everyone can do to decrease economic disparities and work for social and economic justice in your community and in your world.

Many thanks to Nana, Eron, Mawunyo and Kwadjo for an excellent discussion (and a fantastic dinner!). Y'all keep me on my toes, and I am grateful for your friendship.

11 comments:

Karama said...

The Life and Debt website lists these links that allow you to "contact key decision-makers over some of the issues that we raise, or get involved with some campaigns that are working to make a difference."

That Wine Cat said...

Karama,
Thanks for raising issues about global economic activity and justice: better understanding international issues can help us better understand national and local issues.

P.S. The dinner we consumed was fresh and pretty local. The wine well… Keep hope alive!

Karama said...

Hey Wine Cat! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed your visit and will read "So what can I do?" again soon.

I agree: these economic and social issues are interrelated. We'll never understand the full story of what's happening locally (e.g. layoffs, immigration law) until we understand what's happening globally (e.g. free trade, environmental damage).

PS: Next time we'll have to include a Georgia muscadine wine. The ones I've had have been pretty tasty. Arkansas even has a little wine country. Thanks for cooking!

Karama said...

Check out this link which talks bit about this post.

Karama said...

Here's the original version. I'm glad you like "So what can I do," Natalie! Thanks for spreading the word about this kind of work

OHenry said...

At one time communities would seek counsel from the elders on matters of import. More experience usually translated into lessons learned. Having survived my share of crises, I am still around to share a thought or two. The main lesson is to never stop learning. Reading is good as is seeking other points of view and new ideas like visiting your blog. Finding what is ultimately important leads one to appreciate actuality, efficiency and mindfulness. Helping others to see some of the forest through the trees is another. mindfulness

Anonymous said...


Mesothelioma
• Mesothelioma Causes
• Mesothelioma Symptoms
• Mesothelioma Latency Period
• Mesothelioma Prognosis
• Mesothelioma Survivors
• Pleural Mesothelioma
• Peritoneal Mesothelioma
• Pericardial Mesothelioma
• Malignant Mesothelioma
• Mesothelioma Diagnosis
• Epithelial Mesothelioma
• Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma
• Mesothelioma Staging Systems

Treatment Options
• Mesothelioma Surgery
• Mesothelioma Radiation
• Mesothelioma Chemotherapy
• Mesothelioma Doctors
• Mesothelioma Cure
• Mesothelioma Clinical Trials
• Mesothelioma Cancer Centers
• Alternative Medicine
• Mesothelioma Support
Asbestos Cancer
• Cancer Facts
• Asbestos Cancer
• Lung Cancer
• Cancer Nutrition

Asbestos Info
• Asbestos Exposure
• Asbestos Types
• Asbestosis
• Asbestos Abatement
Exposure Areas
• Shipyards
• Metal Works
• Power Plants
• Chemical Plants
• Other Jobsites
• Occupations
• Asbestos Products
• State Index
• California
• Florida
• Illinois
• New York
• Virginia

Navy Veterans
• VA Claims
• Navy Ships
• Battleships
• Aircraft Carriers
• Cruisers
• Submarines
• Other Ships
Legal Options
• Mesothelioma Lawyer
• Mesothelioma Attorney
• Mesothelioma Compensation
• Mesothelioma Cases
• Mesothelioma Lawsuits
• Mesothelioma Settlements
• Mesothelioma Verdicts
• Mesothelioma Fund
• Trial Process

Anonymous said...

Symptoms of mesothelioma
may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.

These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions.

Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:

chest wall pain
pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
shortness of breath
fatigue or anemia
wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)
In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual may develop a pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung. The disease may metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.

Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:

abdominal pain
ascites, or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
a mass in the abdomen
problems with bowel function
weight loss
In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:

blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs
jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
low blood sugar level
pleural effusion
pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
severe ascites
A mesothelioma does not usually spread to the bone, brain, or adrenal glands. Pleural tumors are usually found only on one side of the lungs.

Anonymous said...


Asbestos is made up of microscopic fibers that may become airborne
when asbestos containing materials and products are damaged or
disturbed.

Most asbestos fibers are invisible to the unaided human eye because
their size. When asbestos fibers get into the air they may be inhaled
into the lungs or swallowed into he digestive system where they can
cause significant health problems. The word "asbestos" is derived from
a Greek adjective meaning inextinguishable.

There are three most commonly used types of asbestos: white, brown,
and blue. Brown and blue asbestos are most commonly associated with
mesothelioma.

Six minerals are defined as "asbestos" including: chrysotile, amosite,
crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite.

Asbestos was used in many products that were made for protection from
heat and flame. This included clothing, such as gloves, to stuffing
asbestos insulation into electrical conduit, to using asbestos to make
fire proof cloth for use in power plants or petroleum refineries.

Asbestos also has excellent insulation and noise deadening qualities.
Asbestos was used in many construction products, including floor and
ceiling tiles and wall board. Any home built before 1978 probably
contains asbestos somewhere.

New Asbestos Cases

It has been well documented for many years that asbestos exposure can
result in the development of deadly cancers, particularly
Mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma has a latency period of 20 to 50 years after the first
exposure to asbestos. It is estimated that there will be about 250,000
cases of Mesothelioma before 2020.

There are currently about 3000 new cases of Mesothelioma diagnosed per
year, mostly in men over the age of 40. About 4,000 People die from
Mesothelioma every year, the rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
During the 20th century, some 30 million tons of asbestos were used in
industrial sites, homes, schools, shipyards and commercial buildings
in the U. S.

Through 2003, more than 700,000 People have filed claims against more
than 6,000 Asbestos companies. These same companies knew of the
dangers for many years before ever warning the public of those risks.
It is thought that around eight million people in the United States
have been exposed to asbestos over the past half a century, and many
more cases - are expected to be reported in the next 25 years.

The National Institute of Health in 1978 estimated that eight to
eleven million U.S. workers had been exposed to asbestos by that date.
In fact, by 1970, it is estimated that some 25 million tons of
asbestos were used in the U.S.

Asbestos And Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to
asbestos. Mesothelioma cancer comes from inhaling or digesting
asbestos dust particles. Mesothelioma is a life-threatening disease
and should not be left untreated. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in
the pleura or peritoneum.
Mesothelioma cancer occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers
your internal organs (mesothelium). The mesothelium is a membrane that
covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is
composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the
organ; the other forms a sac around it.
The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between
these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and
the expanding and contracting lungs) to glide easily against adjacent
structures.
Mesothelioma is most common in the pleura (outer lining of the lungs
and chest cavity), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining
of the abdominal cavity) or the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the
heart).
Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they
inhaled asbestos particles, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust
and fibre in other ways, such as by washing the clothes of a family
member who worked with asbestos.
There are funds available for asbestos victims.

Asbestos Exposure

Millions of Americans and people all over the world have been poisoned
by toxic levels of asbestos, putting them at risk for mesothelioma,
asbestosis, lung cancer, and other deadly diseases that are directly
caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers.

Before the grave dangers of asbestos were known, and even for years
after the dangers were known, asbestos was used in literally thousands
of products that humans and animals encounter every day — particularly
in building components such as ceiling and floor tiles, walls, bricks
and stucco, and in automotive parts such as brakes and clutches.

People who worked in the asbestos industry or in fields in which
asbestos is used as a component of a product are most at risk for
mesothelioma.

Many individuals who have mesothelioma labored for years or even
decades in jobs that required frequent contact with asbestos. When
this mineral is mined, processed, woven, sprayed or otherwise
manipulated, its microscopic fibers can be released into the air,
where they may be inhaled, initiating the development of mesothelioma.

Asbestos exposure occurs when the asbestos that is in the products
becomes damaged. Once damaged, the asbestos fibers are released into
the air. The fibers are microscopic, smaller even than a grain of
pollen, and invisible to the naked eye. The asbestos fibers, if
inhaled or ingested, can become lodged into the body where it can
create severe medical problems.

Approximately 100,000 people in the United States have died, or will
die, from asbestos exposure related to ship building.

There were approximately 4.3 million shipyard workers in the United
States during WWII; for every thousand workers about 14 died of
mesothelioma and an unknown number died from asbestosis.

Occupations that have high rates of asbestos exposure include ship
builders, oil refinery workers, steel workers, power plant workers,
Navy shipyards, pipe fitters, auto workers, railroad workers and
construction workers.

Asbestos Symptoms

Asbestos symptoms include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion
(fluid between the lung and the chest wall) or chest wall pain, and
general symptoms such as weight loss.

Asbestos Signs and Symptoms:

abdominal pain
bowel function problems
chest wall pain
weight loss
pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
shortness of breath
fatigue or anemia
wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)
Asbestos Signs and Symptoms in Severe Cases:

blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe
bleeding in many body organs
jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
low blood sugar level
pleural effusion
pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
severe ascites
Asbestos and Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a scarring of lung tissue caused by the inhalation of
asbestos fibers. A portion of the fibers reach the alveoli (air sacs)
where oxygen is transferred into the blood. Asbestos activates the
lung's immune system and starts a reaction best described as an
inflammatory process.

Scavenger white blood cells (macrophages) try to break down the
asbestos (phagocytosis) but are not successful, causing other cells
(fibroblasts) to grow and form connective-tissue-based scars.

The formation of scar tissue or collagen in the lungs is known as
fibrosis. The scar tissue slowly builds up, often reducing the lung's
ability to deliver oxygen to the blood and remove carbon dioxide
(reduced diffusion capacity). The total lung capacity or TLC may also
be reduced. In severe cases, the impairment of lung function can
strain the heart, or even result in heart disease, such as right-sided
heart failure or "cor pulmonale."

The inflammatory process starts within hours or days after inhalation
of asbestos and injury at the cellular level begins shortly
thereafter. In people who develop asbestosis, the inflammatory process
continues to progress, fueled by indestructible asbestos fibers, even
after exposure to asbestos ceases.

This asbestosis inflammatory process may continue undetected for
decades causing no pain or respiratory symptoms. In many people, the
process eventually produces symptoms-breathing abnormalities and
radiographic changes. Usually, the first symptoms are shortness of
breath and a dry cough. These symptoms often precede abnormalities on
chest x-ray or pulmonary function tests. The period between exposure
and diagnosis is called "latency" and may range from 10 to 50 years.

Asbestosis is a chronic inflammation of the lungs. The inflammation is
a direct result of exposure to asbestos. Asbestosis is a progressive
disease with no cure. The inflammation causes shortness of breath,
which will get progressively worse as the disease progresses.
Physicians can treat some of the symptoms of asbestosis with auxiliary
oxygen, but it will not cure the disease. Death due to asbestosis
occurs by respiratory failure.

Asbestos and Smoking
Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and
asbestos cancer and smoking.
Smoking does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma and
asbestos. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure
significantly increases a person’s risk of developing cancer of the
lungs.

The Kent brand of cigarettes used asbestos in its filters for the
first few years of production in the 1950s and some cases of
mesothelioma and asbestos have resulted. Smoking modern cigarettes
does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma and asbestos.

The combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly
increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the airways (lung
cancer, bronchial carcinoma).

If you do smoke, stop. In addition to mesothelioma and asbestosis,
there is research that indicates that those who suffer from asbestos
exposure and smoke are at a greatly increased risk of developing
mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer.

Asbestos Historical Usage

The name Asbestos was given to this mineral by the Ancient Greeks. The
word “Asbestos” literally means inextinguishable.
The Greeks termed asbestos the "miracle mineral" because of its soft
and pliant properties, as well as its ability to withstand heat.
The Greek geographer Strabo and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder
noted that the material damaged lungs of slaves who wove it into
cloth.
Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders
in the late 19th century due to its resistance to heat, electricity
and chemical damage, its ability to absorb sound.
By the mid 20th century asbestos use included fire retardant coatings,
concrete, bricks, pipes and fireplace cement, heat, fire, and acid
resistant gaskets, pipe insulation, ceiling insulation, fireproof
drywall, flooring, roofing, lawn furniture, and drywall joint
compound.
Asbestos has been mined and used commercially since the late 1800s. It
was used widely used during World War II.
Asbestos Facts:

By 1970, it is estimated that some 25 million tons of asbestos were
used in the U.S.
A history of asbestos exposure in the workplace is reported in about
80 percent of all mesothelioma cases.
Eight million people in the United States have been exposed to
asbestos over the past half a century.
Studies estimate that approximately 3,000 different types of
commercial products include asbestos.
The National Institute of Health in 1978 estimated that eight to
eleven million U.S. workers had been exposed to asbestos by that date.
Through 2003, more than 700,000 People had filed claims against more
than 6,000 Asbestos companies.
Many building materials used in both public and domestic premises
prior to the banning of asbestos may still contain asbestos.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set
limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace.
In 2005, 2.2 million tons of asbestos were mined worldwide. Russia was
the largest producer with about 40% world share followed by China and
Kazakhstan.
The first documented death related to asbestos was in 1906. In the
early 1900s researchers began to notice a large number of early deaths
and lung problems in asbestos mining towns.
The term Mesothelioma was not used in medical literature until 1931,
and was not associated with asbestos until sometime in the 1940s.
Asbestos exposure becomes a health concern when high concentrations of
asbestos fibers are inhaled over a long time period.
Asbestos was used in the first 40 floors of the World Trade Center
towers causing an airborne contamination among lower Manhattan after
the towers collapsed in the attacks on September 11th, 2001
Inhaled asbestos fibers remain in the body and cannot be expelled.
Because of this, the fibers can easily penetrate body tissues and may
deposit themselves in airways and in the lung tissue.
It is estimated that 27.5 million Americans were exposed to asbestos
between 1940 and 1979.
Mesothelioma has a latency period of 20 to 50 years after the first
exposure to asbestos.
Many asbestos-containing products remain in buildings, ships,
industrial facilities and other environments where the fibers can
become airborne.
Mesothelioma from asbestos occurs more often in men than in women and
risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or
women at any age.
Family members and others living with asbestos workers have an
increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos
related diseases.
If you are a grieving family member or executor of the will of a
person who has died from asbestos-related disease or mesothelioma, you
may be eligible to file a claim as well.

Anonymous said...

It is inhalation of asbestos fibers which can cause mesothelioma or
asbestos lung cancer. Even low exposure levels of the tiny fibers or
asbestos dust are very dangerous. After the 1980's workplace exposure
to asbestos became more rare, but it can take up to 40 years for signs
of mesothelioma asbestos lung cancer are noticed.

Most patients were exposed to asbestos fibers on the job or in the
workplace in what is known as occupational exposure. Another form of
exposure is called paraoccupational exposure. This form of asbestos
exposure can be harder to determine the source, but it is usually
contracted by a family member of someone who has been exposed in the
workplace.

Typically the family member is exposed to asbestos dust or fibers from
the worker's clothing, and when the clothing is handled the dust is
released and inhaled. Family members that are exposed in this way, may
be exposed to smaller amounts, but are still very much at risk.

In the same way, those that have homes or work work near facilities
that have asbestos may also be at risk even though there is not
obvious direct contact. The fine asbestos dust can easily be carried
by the wind over long distances.

In the past, some of the industries that could have been a source of
asbestos were factories, shipyards, power plants, oil refineries,
steel manufacturing plants, and any company or job site involved with
construction or the removal of old building materials. Often the
demolition of buildings that contain asbestos can release the dust
into the environment, and trucks hauling the materials can further
spread the fine asbestos fibers.

Likewise, people who live near these types of sites likely to have
asbestos around the facility are also at risk: refineries, power
plants, factories, shipyards, steel mills and building demolition are
types of work sites that can release asbestos fibers into the
environment and contaminate nearby residential neighborhoods.

Trades:

Manufacturing of asbestos products insulation, roofing, building, materials

Vehicle repair (brakes & clutches)

Construction workers and contractors

Maritime workers

Miners and drillmen

Offshore rust removals

Oil refinery workers

Power plants

Railway workers

Sand or abrasive manufacturers

Shipyards / ships / ship builders

Steel mills

Tile cutters

Occupations:

Auto Mechanics

Boiler makers

Bricklayers

Building Inspectors

Carpenters

Drywallers

Electricians

Floor Coverings

Furnace Workers

Glazers

Grinders

Hod carriers

Insulators

Iron workers

Laborers

Longshoremen

Maintenance workers

Merchant marines

Millwrights

Operating Engineers

Painters

Plasterers

Plumbers

Roofers

Sand blasters

Sheet metal workers

Steam fitters

Tile setters

Welders

United States Navy veterans

Welders

Anonymous said...

Mesothelioma
is a form of
cancer that is almost always caused by previous exposure to asbestos.
In this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a
protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Its
most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal
chest wall), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of
the abdominal cavity), the heart, the pericardium (a sac that
surrounds the heart) or tunica vaginalis.

Most people who develop Mesothelioma have worked on
jobs where they inhaled asbestos
particles, or they have been exposed
to asbestos
dust and fiber in other ways. Washing the clothes of a
family member who worked with asbestos
can also put a person at risk
for developing mesothelioma. Unlike lung cancer, there is no
association between Mesothelioma and smoking.
Compensation via asbestos
funds or lawsuits is an important issue in
mesothelioma (see asbestos
and the law).

The symptoms of Mesothelioma include
shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung
and the chest wall) or chest wall pain, and general symptoms such as
weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected with chest X-ray and CT
scan, and is confirmed with a biopsy (tissue sample) and microscopic
examination. A thoracoscopy (inserting a tube with a camera into the
chest) can be used to take biopsies. It allows the introduction of
substances such as talc to obliterate the pleural space (called
pleurodesis), which prevents more fluid from accumulating and pressing
on the lung. Despite treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or
sometimes surgery, the disease carries a poor prognosis. Research
about screening tests for the early detection of mesothelioma is
ongoing.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos.
Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an
accumulation of fluid in the pleural space are often symptoms of
pleuralMesothelioma

Symptoms of peritoneal Mesothelioma include weight
loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a
buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of
peritoneal Mesothelioma
may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia,
and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other
parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or
swelling of the neck or face.

These symptoms may be caused by Mesothelioma or by other,
less serious conditions.

Mesothelioma
that affects
the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:

chest wall pain
pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
shortness of breath
fatigue or anemia
wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)
In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual
may develop a pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung. The disease may
metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.

Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms
until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:

abdominal pain
ascites, or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
a mass in the abdomen
problems with bowel function
weight loss
In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:

blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe
bleeding in many body organs
jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
low blood sugar level
pleural effusion
pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
severe ascites
A Mesothelioma
does not
usually spread to the bone, brain, or adrenal glands. Pleural tumors
are usually found only on one side of the lungs.
Diagnosing Mesotheliomais
often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a
number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the
patient's medical history. A history of exposure to asbestos may
increase clinical suspicion for mesothelioma. A physical examination
is performed, followed by chest X-ray and often lung function tests.
The X-ray may reveal pleural thickening commonly seen after asbestos

exposure and increases suspicion of Mesothelioma A CT (or CAT)
scan or an MRI is usually performed. If a large amount of fluid is
present, abnormal cells may be detected by cytology if this fluid is
aspirated with a syringe. For pleural fluid this is done by a pleural
tap or chest drain, in ascites with an paracentesis or ascitic drain
and in a pericardial effusion with pericardiocentesis. While absence
of malignant cells on cytology does not completely exclude
mesothelioma, it makes it much more unlikely, especially if an
alternative diagnosis can be made (e.g. tuberculosis, heart failure).

If cytology is positive or a plaque is regarded as suspicious, a
biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of Mesothelioma A doctor
removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a
pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on
where the abnormal area is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the
doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes
a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube
called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy
allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples.

If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a laparoscopy.
To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small incision in
the abdomen and inserts a special instrument into the abdominal
cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive
diagnostic surgery may be necessary
The mesothelium consists of a single layer of flattened to cuboidal
cells forming the epithelial lining of the serous cavities of the body
including the peritoneal, pericardial and pleural cavities. Deposition
of asbestos fibres in the parenchyma of the lung may result in the
penetration of the visceral pleura from where the fibre can then be
carried to the pleural surface, thus leading to the development of
malignant mesothelial plaques. The processes leading to the
development of peritoneal Mesothelioma remain
unresolved, although it has been proposed that asbestos
fibres from
the lung are transported to the abdomen and associated organs via the
lymphatic system. Additionally, asbestos
fibres may be deposited in
the gut after ingestion of sputum contaminated with asbestos
fibres.

Pleural contamination with asbestos
or other mineral fibres has been
shown to cause cancer. Long thin asbestos
fibers (blue asbestos
,
amphibole fibers) are more potent carcinogens than "feathery fibers"
(chrysotile or white asbestos
fibers).[6] However, there is now
evidence that smaller particles may be more dangerous than the larger
fibers. They remain suspended in the air where they can be inhaled,
and may penetrate more easily and deeper into the lungs. "We probably
will find out a lot more about the health aspects of asbestos
from
[the World Trade Center attack], unfortunately," said Dr. Alan Fein,
chief of pulmonary and critical-care medicine at North Shore-Long
Island Jewish Health System. Dr. Fein has treated several patients for
"World Trade Center syndrome" or respiratory ailments from brief
exposures of only a day or two near the collapsed buildings.

Mesothelioma
development
in rats has been demonstrated following intra-pleural inoculation of
phosphorylated chrysotile fibres. It has been suggested that in
humans, transport of fibres to the pleura is critical to the
pathogenesis of mesothelioma. This is supported by the observed
recruitment of significant numbers of macrophages and other cells of
the immune system to localised lesions of accumulated asbestos fibres
in the pleural and peritoneal cavities of rats. These lesions
continued to attract and accumulate macrophages as the disease
progressed, and cellular changes within the lesion culminated in a
morphologically malignant tumour.

Experimental evidence suggests that asbestos
acts as a complete
carcinogen with the development of Mesothelioma occurring in
sequential stages of initiation and promotion. The molecular
mechanisms underlying the malignant transformation of normal
mesothelial cells by asbestos
fibres remain unclear despite the
demonstration of its oncogenic capabilities. However, complete in
vitro transformation of normal human mesothelial cells to malignant
phenotype following exposure to asbestos
fibres has not yet been
achieved. In general, asbestos
fibres are thought to act through
direct physical interactions with the cells of the mesothelium in
conjunction with indirect effects following interaction with
inflammatory cells such as macrophages.

Analysis of the interactions between asbestos
fibres and DNA has shown
that phagocytosed fibres are able to make contact with chromosomes,
often adhering to the chromatin fibres or becoming entangled within
the chromosome. This contact between the asbestos
fibre and the
chromosomes or structural proteins of the spindle apparatus can induce
complex abnormalities. The most common abnormality is monosomy of
chromosome 22. Other frequent abnormalities include structural
rearrangement of 1p, 3p, 9p and 6q chromosome arms.
asbestos
has also been shown to mediate the entry of foreign DNA into
target cells. Incorporation of this foreign DNA may lead to mutations
and oncogenesis by several possible mechanisms:

Inactivation of tumor suppressor genes
Activation of oncogenes
Activation of proto-oncogenes due to incorporation of foreign DNA
containing a promoter region
Activation of DNA repair enzymes, which may be prone to error
Activation of telomerase
Prevention of apoptosis
asbestos
fibers have been shown to alter the function and secretory
properties of macrophages, ultimately creating conditions which favour
the development of mesothelioma. Following asbestos
phagocytosis,
macrophages generate increased amounts of hydroxyl radicals, which are
normal by-products of cellular anaerobic metabolism. However, these
free radicals are also known clastogenic and membrane-active agents
thought to promote asbestos
carcinogenicity. These oxidants can
participate in the oncogenic process by directly and indirectly
interacting with DNA, modifying membrane-associated cellular events,
including oncogene activation and perturbation of cellular antioxidant
defences.

asbestos
also may possess immunosuppressive properties. For example,
chrysotile fibres have been shown to depress the in vitro
proliferation of phytohemagglutinin-stimulated peripheral blood
lymphocytes, suppress natural killer cell lysis and significantly
reduce lymphokine-activated killer cell viability and recovery.
Furthermore, genetic alterations in asbestos
-activated macrophages may
result in the release of potent mesothelial cell mitogens such as
platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor
which in turn, may induce the chronic stimulation and proliferation of
mesothelial cells after injury by asbestos
fibres

Incidence
Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years,
mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. The incidence rate is
approximately one per 1,000,000. The highest incidence is found in
Britain, Australia and Belgium: 30 per 1,000,000 per year.[7] For
comparison, populations with high levels of smoking can have a lung
cancer incidence of over 1,000 per 1,000,000. Incidence of malignant
asbestos
currently
ranges from about 7 to 40 per 1,000,000 in industrialized Western
nations, depending on the amount of asbestos
exposure of the
populations during the past several decades.[8] It has been estimated
that incidence may have peaked at 15 per 1,000,000 in the United
States in 2004. Incidence is expected to continue increasing in other
parts of the world. Mesothelioma occurs more
often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this
disease can appear in either men or women at any age. Approximately
one fifth to one third of all mesotheliomas are peritoneal.

Between 1940 and 1979, approximately 27.5 million people were
occupationally exposed to asbestos in the United States [4]. Between
1973 and 1984, there has been a threefold increase in the diagnosis of
pleural Mesothelioma
in
Caucasian males. From 1980 to the late 1990s, the death rate from Mesothelioma in the USA
increased from 2,000 per year to 3,000, with men four times more
likely to acquire it than women. These rates may not be accurate,
since it is possible that many cases of Mesothelioma are
misdiagnosed as adenocarcinoma of the lung, which is difficult to
differentiate from mesothelioma.

Risk factors
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for Mesothelioma A history of
asbestos exposure exists in almost all cases. However, Mesothelioma has been
reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos

In rare cases, Mesothelioma has also been
associated with irradiation, intrapleural thorium dioxide
(Thorotrast), and inhalation of other fibrous silicates, such as
erionite.

Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as
masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin
threads and woven. Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial
products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring
products, textiles, and insulation. If tiny asbestos particles float
in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they may be
inhaled or swallowed, and can cause serious health problems. In
addition to Mesothelioma
exposure to asbestos
increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a
noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those
of the larynx and kidney.

The combination of smoking and asbestos
exposure significantly
increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the airways (lung
cancer, bronchial carcinoma). The Kent brand of cigarettes used
asbestos in its filters for the first few years of production in the
1950s and some cases of Mesothelioma have resulted.
Smoking modern cigarettes does not appear to increase the risk of
mesothelioma.

Some studies suggest that simian virus 40 (SV40) may act as a cofactor
in the development of Mesothelioma
Exposure
asbestos
was known in antiquity, but it wasn't mined and widely used
commercially until the late 1800s. Its use greatly increased during
World War II. Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have
been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with
asbestos exposure were not publicly known. However, an increased risk
of developing Mesothelioma was later found
among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos
mines and mills,
producers of asbestos
products, workers in the heating and
construction industries, and other tradespeople. Today, the U.S.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for
acceptable levels of asbestos
exposure in the workplace, and created
guidelines for engineering controls and respirators, protective
clothing, exposure monitoring, hygiene facilities and practices,
warning signs, labeling, recordkeeping, and medical exams. By
contrast, the British Government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
states formally that any threshold for Mesothelioma must be at a
very low level and it is widely agreed that if any such threshold does
exist at all, then it cannot currently be quantified. For practical
purposes, therefore, HSE does not assume that any such threshold
exists. People who work with asbestos
wear personal protective
equipment to lower their risk of exposure. Recent findings have shown
that a mineral called erionite has been known to cause genetically
pre-dispositioned individuals to have malignant Mesothelioma rates much
higher than those not pre-dispositioned genetically. A study in
Cappadocia, Turkey has shown that 3 villiages in Turkey have death
rates of 51% attributed to erionite related mesothelioma.

Occupational
Exposure to asbestos
fibres has been recognised as an occupational
health hazard since the early 1900s. Several epidemiological studies
have associated exposure to asbestos with the development of lesions
such as asbestos
bodies in the sputum, pleural plaques, diffuse
pleural thickening, asbestosis, carcinoma of the lung and larynx,
gastrointestinal tumours, and diffuse Mesothelioma of the pleura
and peritoneum.

The documented presence of asbestos
fibres in water supplies and food
products has fostered concerns about the possible impact of long-term
and, as yet, unknown exposure of the general population to these
fibres. Although many authorities consider brief or transient exposure
to asbestos fibres as inconsequential and an unlikely risk factor,
some epidemiologists claim that there is no risk threshold. Cases of
Mesothelioma
have been
found in people whose only exposure was breathing the air through
ventilation systems. Other cases had very minimal (3 months or less)
direct exposure.

Commercial asbestos mining at Wittenoom, Western Australia, occurred
between 1945 and 1966. A cohort study of miners employed at the mine
reported that while no deaths occurred within the first 10 years after
crocidolite exposure, 85 deaths attributable to Mesothelioma had occurred by
1985. By 1994, 539 reported deaths due to mesothelioma had been
reported in Western Australia.

Paraoccupational secondary exposure
Family members and others living with asbestos
workers have an
increased risk of developing Mesothelioma and possibly
other asbestos related diseases. This risk may be the result of
exposure to asbestos
dust brought home on the clothing and hair of
asbestos workers. To reduce the chance of exposing family members to
asbestos fibres, asbestos
workers are usually required to shower and
change their clothing before leaving the workplace.

Asbestos in buildings
Many building materials used in both public and domestic premises
prior to the banning of asbestos may contain asbestos
. Those
performing renovation works or DIY activities may expose themselves to
asbestos dust. In the UK use of Chrysotile asbestos
was banned at the
end of 1999. Brown and blue asbestos
was banned in the UK around 1985.
Buildings built or renovated prior to these dates may contain asbestos

materials.
Environmental exposures
Incidence of mesothelioma had been found to be higher in populations
living near naturally occurring asbestos
. For example, in Cappadocia,
Turkey, an unprecedented Mesothelioma epidemic caused
50% of all deaths in three small villages. Initially, this was
attributed to erionite, however, recently, it has been shown that
erionite causes mesothelioma mostly in families with a genetic
predisposition
Treatment of malignant Mesothelioma using
conventional therapies in combination with radiation and or
chemotherapy on stage I or II Mesothelioma have proved on
average 74.6 percent successful in extending the patients life span by
five years or more [commonly known as remission][this percentage may
increases or decrease depending on date of discovery / stage of
malignant development] (Oncology Today, 2009). Treatment course is
primarily determined by the staging or development. This is unlike
traditional treatment such as surgery by itself which has proved only
be 16.3 percent likely to extend a patients life span by five years or
more [commonly known as remission]. Clinical behavior of the
malignancy is affected by several factors including the continuous
mesothelial surface of the pleural cavity which favors local
metastasis via exfoliated cells, invasion to underlying tissue and
other organs within the pleural cavity, and the extremely long latency
period between asbestos
exposure and development of the disease