• Newly Discovered Source of Asbestos Puts Dentists at Risk
  • July 21, 2017
  • New Study Confirms Six Cases of Pleural Mesothelioma Due to Asbestos in Dental Lining Tape

    The authors of a new study have identified six cases of pleural mesothelioma contracted by people, mostly dentists, who were exposed to asbestos found in dental lining tape. While it is well known that many products like insulation and gasket materials contained asbestos, dental lining tape was not one of these well-known products. Accordingly, there is now a new cause for concern – dentists who used dental lining tape prior to the 1970s to cast crowns, bridges, and other metal dental prosthetic devices may have been exposed to deadly asbestos fibers.

    One of the serious problems with identifying everyone who may have been exposed to asbestos prior to the 1970s is that it is hard to determine all of the products that contained asbestos. While over 3,000 products have been identified as a source of asbestos exposure, there is a continuous discovery of previously unknown sources of asbestos, such as dental lining tape. Although widespread use of asbestos ended in the 1970s, some people may have been unknowingly exposed to the deadly asbestos fibers from products that have yet to be identified as a source.

    What is Asbestos?

    Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that, prior to the 1970s, was commonly used in construction, plastics, and industrial products. Asbestos was widely used because of its insulating and fire-retardant properties. However, there are deadly side effects to the exposure of asbestos. When asbestos fibers are handled or disturbed, it can produce a dust that forms deposits in the lungs when inhaled. This can lead to deadly illnesses decades later, such as pleural mesothelioma.

    The people most at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease, like pleural mesothelioma, are those who worked directly with a product containing asbestos many years ago. However, family members can also be exposed to asbestos fibers that stuck to the clothes of workers when they came home from their job.

    What is Pleural Mesothelioma?

    Pleural mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive cancer found primarily in the pleura, a soft tissue that covers the lungs. The only known cause of pleural mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may include:

    • Fatigue
    • Coughing blood
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Painful breathing
    • Shortness of breath
    These symptoms may not appear for decades after initial exposure, which is why cases of pleural mesothelioma are just now maturing even though exposure may have occurred over 50 years ago.