It’s long been established that asbestos is the primary cause of at least 80% of all mesothelioma cases, yet a new study reveals that an industrial chemical found in a common household products may account for the other 20%.
According to a two-year study performed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as a way to determine cancer risks associated with certain chemicals, vinylidene chloride (VDC), was found to be associated with a heightened risk of developing mesothelioma. VDC is chemical used to make a variety of household products and agents, including adhesives, coatings, films, packaging wraps, plastic wraps, and more.
In order to determine the risks associated with VDC and mesothelioma, scientists conducted studies on rats with tumorous mesothelioma cells who were exposed to the chemical, and compared them to the mesothelioma cells of rats who were not exposed to VDC. Although the cells of both the exposed and non-exposed rats showed the same distinguishing factors, the cells of the rats exposed to VDC showed increased immune system dysfunction and inflammation that’s similar to malignant mesothelioma.
Lead investigator Pamela Blackshear, of NIH, states that the findings suggest that exposure to VDC shows a heightened risk associated with many symptoms of mesothelioma.
“These data suggest that a chronic, pro-inflammatory environment associated with VDC exposure may exacerbate disturbances in oncogene, growth factor, and cell cycle regulation, resulting in an increased incidence of mesothelioma,” said Blackshear.
Scientists and researchers found that short-term effects of VDC exposure include skin, eyes, nose, throat irritation, while additional long-term effects may include kindey, nervous system, and liver damage. Yet, the study is the first to link VDC with mesothelioma.
However, experts suggest that since the study is still new, much more research needs to be done in order to better understand how the chemical causes such adverse reactions and leads to a heightened risk of mesothelioma. Around 2,500 people develop mesothelioma each year, of which 80% are linked to asbestos exposure. This means that there are a lot of people each year who develop the life-threatening disease who could have possibly gotten it from a chemical used everyday products.
VDC was only one of the chemicals tested during the studies, which was part of the National Toxicology Program’s attempt to determine what agents may cause cancer. However, so far, no other chemicals have shown a heightened risk of developing cancer as much as VDC has.
If you or a loved one suffer from a debilitating disease such as mesothelioma, you have the legal right to seek compensation if you were exposed to asbestos because of the negligence of an employer or any other responsible party. For more information, contact our award winning mesothelioma law firm today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.
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