Just when you think it cannot become worse, it does.
For many decades, we have known about the hazards of asbestos, as well as its relationship to mesothelioma and other thoracic and abdominal malignancies. We even see there is a growth industry among our friends in the legal world, with the emergence of for-profit firms apparently devoted only to mesothelioma and asbestos litigation.
The present tale really is a sad one, as most oncologists know, but government functionaries — and, in particular, the Environmental Protection Agency — apparently do not.
In the early 20th century, asbestos was frequently used as insulation. It also found application in the housing industry, for lagging — or coating — of pipes in the production of ships, and in the manufacture of brakes and various other useful items.
It eventually became clear that asbestos posed a very significant health hazard, with the evolution of malignant tumors of the pleura, lung and peritoneum occurring among workers exposed chronically to asbestos. Thus, asbestos miners, navy and merchant marine personnel exposed to lagging, construction workers and many others developed highly aggressive, intractable tumors.
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