Research has been conducted into the comparative risk for women contracting malignant pleural mesothelioma due to environmental, amphibole asbestos exposure. As a result, critical information has been added to help increase public asbestos awareness by the research concluding that the relative risk was higher for women than for men. Cases of mesothelioma disease developing in women has been seen to be increasing in many parts of the world.
Amphibole asbestos fibres are considered to be more dangerous because, unlike the curly, serpentile fibres found only in chrysotile (white asbestos), amphibole fibres – most commonly found in crocidolite (blue asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos) – are sharp and straight and will penetrate the pleural cavities.
Once the deadly fibres have imbedded themselves, an exceptionally long gestation period of up to 40 years or more will elapse before any sign of asbestosis symptoms or mesothelioma cancer emerges, which too often means seeking asbestos advice at a terminal stage in its’ development.
Concerns regarding the heightened level of susceptibility to mesothelioma in women centres upon their different breathing patterns to men. Studies have revealed that with increased height a corresponding increase in the length of the trachea and enlargement of the lungs has been found.
Lung volume can influence asbestos fibre retention behaviour, as measured by impact, interception and sedimentation. which according to lung size, are known to increase in the major airways. In addition, it has been suggested that body size itself, may also play a role in an increased risk of mesothelioma among women,
Examples of the many ways women came into direct contact with asbestos throughout the 20th century include those who worked in laundry factories where asbestos material was used as insulation in industrial dryers, and cosmetic factories where the deadly dust from asbestos-containing products, such as cosmetic powder was inhaled.
Secondary exposure – within the home environment – was the all too often tragic cause of developing mesothelioma outside of the workplace. Countless mesothelioma compensation cases have involved women breathing in the fibres when handling and cleaning men’s overalls worn in workplaces where asbestos was being used in the manufacturing process.
Amphibole asbestos was commonly used in the production of heat resistant products such as pipe insulation, insulating board, sprayed asbestos coating, underfloor insulation and firedoors, still found in older homes where it was often used in garage ceilings, soffit boards and as infill panels.