Asbestos And Mesothelioma: New Research

It has been known for decades that asbsestos causes mesothelioma, a deadly type of lung cancer. The first wave of mesothelioma victims were largely workers who had come into direct contact with the mineral. The number of cases and similarities pointed to the culprit.

However, until recently, it has not been known exactly how asbestos exposure can result in the onset of mesothelioma in the body. A very recent study by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) finally outlines the mechanism that produces chronic inflammation and mesothelioma.

Their hope is that the knowledge will give us the tools to help prevent tissue damage, and offer an effective treatment to victims of the disease.

The Study
The research paper was published in the journal Oncogene, and came about as a result of a collaboration between the University Hospitals of Zurich, Geneva, and Toronto as well as the University of Fribourg and ETH Zurich.

  • Asbestos becomes a danger to human health when it breaks down into friable (inhalable) dust.
  • That dust consists of individual asbestos fibres, which are long and pointed.

Once they enter the lungs, they pass into the mesothelium, a membrane that covers the internal organs, including the lungs. The asbestos fibres don’t break down, and they can’t be flushed out by the body’s own lymphatic system.

The asbestos fibres produce a continuous string of what are called micro-injuries to the lung tissue from inside the mesothelium. The body attempts to repair those constant micro-injuries, sending white blood cells and initiating other processes that the body uses to repair itself. The problem is, the injuries never stop.

The paper quotes Emanuela Felley-Bosco, who led the study. “Chronic exposure to asbestos triggers a type of tissue repair,” he says. “The immune system goes out of balance and is no longer strong enough to combat tumour formation.”

The researchers found that there were changes in the RNA, which is essentially a copy of the DNA. While it is yet a hypothesis, they theorized that the body eventually attempts to stop the ongoing inflammatory response sparked by the presence of asbestos fibres, and that is what weakens the immune system and leads to the development of tumours.

Hope for the Future
The hope is that knowing the exact mechanism will lead to immune therapies that can be used to slow down or halt the process. “A therapy against immune system inhibitors is a promising approach,” says Felley-Bosco.

Their research may also help in the understanding of other cancers and conditions which are known to be caused by chronic inflammation. These include:

  • ulcerative colitis,
  • Crohn’s disease,
  • Helicobacter pylori infections.

Be Safe, Not Sorry
Asbestos, mesothelioma, and the many other health issues it can cause, are no joke. It’s wonderful that progress is being made, but prevention beats a cure.

If your home was built before the 1980s, there’s a good chance it contains asbestos in some for. Let our experienced asbestos removal and asbestos remediation technicians help keep your family safe. In the Toronto area call Environmental at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.

Mould & Asbestos at TTC HQ

Like most municipalities in the industrialized world, the city of Toronto and the GTA in general are dealing with infrastructure that was built during boom years decades ago. You could probably make a chart that correlated a declining public economy and the erosion of maintenance in public buildings. Unfortunately for all of us, old buildings + neglect is a recipe for a host of ills, including mould and possible asbestos exposure.

The TTC’s headquarters over the Davisville subway station is the latest high profile case in point. Some 400 people work in the building described by TTC chair Josh Colle as overcrowded and “deplorable”.

Renovate or tear down?
Politics being what it is, renovations that were planned years ago were turned down and labeled as extravagant. Now the only viable solution is to abandon the facility and move elsewhere. The reality is more straightforward. The facility was built in 1958. Cuts to maintenance meant that leaks went unnoticed and unrepaired and issues simply spread to the point of being out of control. Among the long list of issues:

  • Water stains on many walls and ceilings;
  • Ceiling tiles missing in a washroom due to mould;
  • Sections of carpet that have been torn out due to mould growing underneath;
  • Vinyl tiles underneath the carpet contain asbestos.

The mould is so pervasive that that it stains the ceiling in some areas and there are places where the floor itself has been weakened.

Your older home
You value the grace and beauty of an older home, but you also know that it takes vigilance and diligence when it comes to staying on top of repairs. Even a pinhole leak in plumbing can cause moisture behind walls that isn’t detected. All mould needs to grow is moisture and time.

If your home was built before the mid-1980’s then you can assume that it contains asbestos in one form or another. It may be considered safe as long as the material is intact but decade’s old tiles, insulation and all the many other places that can involve asbestos are reaching the end of their useful lifespan and deterioration is often the result. In addition, any repairs or renovations can disturb the material and produce breathable asbestos fibres – the cause of many respiratory issues including deadly cancers and mesothelioma.

We can help. If you have mould or asbestos your home, our experienced asbestos removal, asbestos remediation and mould removal technicians can help you with your environmental issues. In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.