What Can I Do If I'm At Risk for Malignant Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that often affects the tissue around the lungs. The main risk factor for developing mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Although asbestos has been banned in some products, it is still used in certain building materials such as roofing and floor tiles, as well as some car parts. Asbestos is durable and heat and fire resistant. People who work with or live in homes made with those materials may be at risk for malignant mesothelioma. In adults, the risk of mesothelioma does not rise until 20 years after asbestos exposure.

The best way to prevent mesothelioma is not to be around asbestos. When possible, avoid asbestos at home, in public buildings, and at work. If there is a chance you may be exposed to asbestos, take steps to protect yourself.

If you think products that contain asbestos may have been used in your home, ask an expert to check your home. If you have a home with asbestos, don't disturb it or try to remove it yourself. Asbestos doesn't always have to be removed. Hire a qualified asbestos expert to check and remove asbestos in your home if necessary.

If you work in certain construction, automotive or textile manufacturing industries, you may come in contact with asbestos-containing materials. You may need protective clothing, an approved respirator, and other safety equipment.

Most states have their own asbestos programs. To find out if yours does, call the

  • Environmental Protection Agency at 202-566-0517 or visit http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/regioncontact.html.