Asbestos-contaminated Dental Tape Linked to Mesothelioma in Dentists
Occupational asbestos exposure is one of the biggest factors in those suffering from asbestos-related illnesses such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Steelworkers, chemical plant workers, tradesmen, and even those who worked in shipyards were most likely exposed to asbestos due to the nature of their work. Much of the equipment and products used were lined with asbestos since asbestos is heat-resistant, durable, and above all, cheap. While the dangers of asbestos exposure have become common knowledge in the aforementioned professions, exposure can still arise from unexpected places.
Recent discoveries of mesothelioma in those who worked in the dental field have raised suspicions regarding certain products that dentists may have used that contained asbestos. Dating back to the 1930s until the 1970s dental tape contained asbestos which was used in lining dental casting rings (a metal, rubber, or plastic ring in which a mold is made for dental restorations). Ring liners were used to line the casting ring so as the ring expanded as it was heated to produce the mold, enough space was created so that the ring could be freed easily from the restraint of the ring. Chrysotile, the most common form of asbestos used in the United States and crocidolite (blue asbestos), the most deadly form of asbestos, was used in dental tape until the 1970s. Even though it has been decades since asbestos was used in these products, the long latency period between asbestos exposure and the illnesses that follow means that we are now seeing the deadly effects.
Six cases of pathology-verified malignant mesothelioma have been reported among dentists according to researchers from the Queens College, City University of New York and Hofstra Northwelll School of Medicine that have resulted in asbestos tort litigation. Malignant mesothelioma, also known as “asbestos cancer,” is a rare form of cancer found in the lining of the heart, lungs, abdomen, or the internal reproductive organs. Malignant mesothelioma occurs when cells within the mesothelium become abnormal and divide uncontrollably. If not caught early enough, the cancer may metastasize, spreading to other organs of the body. While it is a very aggressive form of cancer, several treatment options are available for malignant mesothelioma.
Asbestos in dental products have been reported and studied before, but now mesothelioma diagnoses have surfaced. The connection between asbestos exposure and asbestos-related diseases can be complicated because of the general lack of knowledge of asbestos in the work place. Many workers, like those in the dental profession are unaware they were handling asbestos-containing products.
At Goldberg, Persky & White, P.C., we understand that you may not be able to pinpoint exactly where your asbestos exposure occurred that is now causing you to suffer. For over 30 years, GPW has specialized in the practice of asbestos law, representing many individuals who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other asbestos-related diseases. During that time, we have developed extensive exposure evidence to locate where asbestos exposure occurred and get you the compensation you deserve.
Markowitz SB & Moline JM, “Malignant Mesothelioma Due to Asbestos Exposure in Dental Tape,” American Journal of Medicine (February 28, 2017). [Link]