Malignant Mesothelioma Cases from Asbestos in Korea to Peak in 2045

While the number of malignant mesothelioma cases in the United States linked to asbestos exposure is believed to have already peaked, South Korea’s own health problems with the substance are only beginning. 

South Korea’s Ministry of Environment issued a report on October 2, indicating that the number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma in that country should reach its height in about 2045. That is because major laws concerning the regulation and restriction of asbestos do not go into effect in South Korea until this coming April and the illness, which is a form of cancer that affects the lining protecting the respiratory system, has a latency period of decades.

In the United States, strict asbestos use laws went into effect during the 1980s, resulting in a belief that the number of new mesothelioma diagnoses peeked in recent years.

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Exposure to asbestos can cause the development of mesothelioma. Lawsuits have been filed nationwide against asbestos manufacturers.

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Many other modern countries that can expect decades of dealing with malignant mesothelioma cases, include the Netherlands, which passed asbestos regulations in 1991, and Japan, which banned asbestos entirely in 2005.

Mesothelioma, which is found in the lining of the chest and lungs, is only known to occur as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers. The disease has a very long latency period and is often not discovered until decades after exposure, leading to a limited life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Asbestos was widely used in a variety of manufacturing and construction applications throughout the last century, with use peaking in 1973. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause a number of serious and potentially fatal long-term health problems, such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Asbestos litigation is the longest running mass tort in U.S. history, with the first case filed in 1929. Over 600,000 people have filed lawsuits against 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases.


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