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What you should know about colorectal cancer and asbestos

Exposure to asbestos in your workplace or home may have contributed to your diagnosis of colorectal cancer. The National Cancer Institute states that in addition to serious asbestos-induced diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, “studies have suggested an association between asbestos exposure and colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers.” Evidence of the strong link between asbestos and various types of cancer like colorectal, has been available for several decades now. According to the Environmental Work Group (EWG), a nonprofit environmental research and advocacy group, one of the most authoritative accounts of this connection can be seen in a “blistering” 1964 report from a doctor hired by Philip Carey Manufacturing, in which the doctor explicitly describes to the company's legal department the potential health hazards of asbestos to its workers and customers.

"There is an irrefutable association between asbestos and cancer. This association has been established for cancer of the lung and for mesothelioma. There is suggestive evidence... for cancer of the stomach, colon and rectum also,” said the doctor. He also added that “evidence has been established for cancer developing among members of the household. There should be no delusion that the problem will disappear or that the consumer or working population will not become aware of the problem and the compensation and legal liability involved."

The doctor was fired shortly after the company received this report, noted the EWG. By the 1950s and 60s when this incident happened many American corporations were fully aware of the dangers of occupation asbestos exposure to workers like you.  Yet these companies continued to ignore these dangers, causing millions of Americans to be exposed to the dangerous carcinogen. As in the case mentioned above, some of the companies even sought to suppress information on hazardous asbestos exposure.

Weitz & Luxenberg believes that it is unacceptable what these businesses did to its own employees, people just like you or your family member. For over two decades, we have worked to help people like you who have been injured by asbestos receive rightful compensation. Please continue to read this article for further information about the links between colorectal cancer and asbestos exposure.

How can asbestos lead to colorectal cancer?

Asbestos can contribute to the development of colorectal cancer if it is ingested or swallowed. This often occurs when individuals who work directly with asbestos products ingest food or liquids tainted with asbestos fibers or dust in or around the work place. As asbestos fibers are extremely hard to see, many workers often ingest these fibers without being aware of it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)report that “some mortality studies of asbestos workers have revealed small increases in the incidence of death from cancer at one or more extrathoracic sites, including … the colon, and rectum. Presumably, these cancers are due to swallowing asbestos fibers…In any case, oral exposure to asbestos should be avoided.”

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ingestion can also occur through the following ways:

  • Swallowing material removed from the lungs via tracheociliary clearance by a person who has inhaled asbestos fibers into the lungs.
  • Drinking water contaminated with asbestos, for example, from erosion of natural land sources, discarded mine and mill tailings, asbestos cement pipe, or disintegration of other asbestos-containing materials transported by rain.

The ATSDR however, notes that asbestos levels in most water supplies are well below the EPA maximum contaminant level (MCL), “so significant exposure by drinking water is uncommon.”

What you can do

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US according to the American Cancer Society.  If you were exposed to asbestos and are now suffering from colorectal cancer or another asbestos cancer, it is important to seek treatment options and legal advice as soon as possible.

Weitz & Luxenberg can help you hold the company who caused your illness accountable. We have obtained over $3 billion in settlements and verdicts for men and women just like you who were injured by asbestos exposure. Not only can financial compensation help to cover your medical expenses, it can also make sure that you, and your family, are financially stable during the duration of your treatment.

Simply fill out the form on this page to get started.  A representative from our firm will contact you shortly for a free legal consultation.






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