Friday, February 04, 2011

Safe Family Getaways: Avoiding Airborne Hazards

When planning a vacation for a family or even just a solo trip, where you stay can clearly determine the level of enjoyment. Comfort, distance, safety, accommodations, hospitality and food can all play considerable factors in a trip’s success, but there are a number of lesser-known factors that should also play into your trip-planning. One such element is asbestos – a mineral that was once highly valuable for its incredible resistance to heat – and its association with the cancer mesothelioma.

The use of asbestos has been vaguely documented as far back as ancient Greece, but we know significantly more about the mineral because of its popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many countries mined the mineral and even more countries imported it for mass productions, notably in residential and commercial buildings, such as houses, schools, hospitals and hotels. While that certainly shouldn’t create a cause for panic among travelers, it should at least heighten the sense of awareness about the age and condition of hotels, motels and inns that travelers may
consider for their vacations.

Early mesothelioma symptoms are very similar to common illnesses, like a cold or the flu. It is generally a disease that occurs among men over the age of 55, but there are exceptions that the medical community is only now becoming aware of through intense studies of patients and Mesothelioma Symptoms. The disease has a latency period of 20 to 50 years, which makes it incredibly difficult to diagnose. But as more than 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year, it is believed that the number of patients could peak during this decade and after 2020. What this suggests is that there could be even more people being exposed to asbestos than experts are even aware of.

More than 65% of cases of mesothelioma are pleural, which means they occur in a person’s lungs. When asbestos particles become airborne, people are more susceptible to breathing them in and developing this fatal disease. In older buildings, as standard wear and depreciation occur, asbestos fibers are more likely to shed from the source materials and get into the air. Many countries have initiated asbestos regulations; however, companies and property owners have not always been so quick to follow.

Should a traveler make arrangements to stay in a hotel in a foreign country, it would be an especially wise idea to contact that hotel prior to travel to ask if the building is undergoing any renovations. Such a factor could greatly increase a traveler’s risk of airborne exposure to asbestos, as well as the transference of fibers via clothing or food. Women and children have generally lower – if not incredibly rare – rates of diagnosis, but they are equally vulnerable.

Countries like India, China, Russia, and others throughout Europe still have no regulations for asbestos. Australia has strong regulations in place for asbestos use, but the country both manufactured and used the mineral vastly during the 20th century and it is still a great risk.

Even people traveling to or within the United States should do their homework and inquire as to what steps their hotels and other accommodations have taken in providing a safe and healthy environment for travelers.

Guest Post by Matt Phillips


Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template 'Tranquility' by 2008

Back to TOP