You Know It’s Bad — But How Bad? Think: Group 1 Human Carcinogen as Classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer-Bad

April 16, 2014  |  Mesothelioma

We have this way of dealing with dangerous things today. Perhaps it’s because the world we live in is so dangerous. The inner “Warning!” reminder goes off multiple times a day — an hour, even.

We’ve got the pollution to worry about, all those “I-can’t-even-pronounce-these ingredients!” in our go-to foods, the dangerous kids toys, dangerous cleaning supplies, dangers medications — you name it, it’s probably dangerous and off-limits in some other country.

And there are some dangers that we can’t do anything about — right? Think those Big Dangers in the news. Random events that seem to come out of nowhere to ruin a life forever.

So we learn to pick our battles, at least. But what we’re really doing is stepping out of the danger-game altogether. As in: we recognize that there are problems, but we’re stepping away from doing anything. Because the big dangers, those random events that you can’t see coming — what can we do to address those dangers? Nothing, it seems. And those little things? Exposure to cigarette smoke, even sandwich bread complete with a chemical used in yoga mats… well, those little things can’t add up — right? And we can’t stop living. Constantly worried about the stranger down the hall — that’s no way to live.

And, after all, we’re Americans, right. We’re tough. No little ol’ toxin or chemical is going to get us down. We can tough it out, we think.

Well, the thing is, that’s a little more fiction than truth.

The reality is, American or not, there are some dangers that are far too dangerous to brush aside, thinking they are just one of those risks of life we have no control over.

You can count asbestos as one of those kinds of dangers. A known human carcinogen, rather.

And to make things even better (or worse), asbestos is a double danger. It is one of those “little things” that people think it’s better to just not think about. We know it might be in the old houses nearby being renovated, or in some nearby factories. We may even know some of the people who work in industries that handle asbestos today, either in professional home repair or in the factories that use asbestos since it is a relatively cheap substance to work with.

But it’s also one of those things that come out of nowhere — in the form of invisible threads that, years and years later, may become the cancer known as mesothelioma, growing in your body — and once it comes your life, and that of your families, is changed forever.

So let’s start calling it what it really is.

Asbestos is one of the most dangerous carcinogens in the world, killing countless people who have breathed it in and then, years later, watched the life they once knew disappear.

It’s not dismissible, asbestos exposure. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified it as a Group 1 human carcinogen. Meaning, when you hear the word asbestos, this is what your inner voice should be saying: “DANGER!”

And if you were exposed to asbestos and have mesothelioma today, or know someone who does, this is what you do: You call a lawyer and you fight back. Because asbestos is one of those dangers in life that people do have control over.

Now we can’t walk away from it.

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