Widow of mesothelioma victim says renovation shows should warn of asbestos riskLisa Mugg wants the world to know that asbestos exposure is dangerous, especially when you don't know you're getting it. Her husband, who recently passed away from mesothelioma, came into contact with the toxic mineral while working in an automobile plant 30 years ago.
Now, Mugg is advocating for more public education about asbestos exposure. That's why she recently asked the producers of several home renovation television shows to include regular warnings about the hazards of asbestos.
'Walking head-on into a fatal disaster'
As she told the Port Phillip Leader, Mugg has been galvanized into action following the recent loss of her husband, Farid Moghaddas. After being diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in 2007, he held on for four years before succumbing to the disease in July of last year.
Moghaddas received extensive asbestos exposure while working in a Toyota automotive plant during the 1980s. In a legal battle following her husband's death, Mugg was awarded a $500,000 settlement.
Yet, she says, the money is not enough. She also wants to ensure that other people know about the insidious dangers of asbestos - hazards that she insists television misrepresents.
A case in point are home-renovation-based reality shows, which depict "gorgeous young people smashing down walls" and "make renovations look fun, with sledgehammers and all that dust," Mugg told the newspaper.
However, if viewers' own renovation projects contain dust laden with asbestos, then they "could be walking head-on into a fatal disaster," she added.
In response to this risk, Mugg has asked producers for shows like The Block to include asbestos-related warnings prior to every episode. Channel spokesperson Terry Stuart told the news source that his station had already "gone above and beyond" by including several one-time caution statements last year.
Old asbestos insulation still kills
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency warns that all homes must be checked for toxic fibers prior to renovation. This is because exposure to asbestos, even in seemingly minute amounts, can lead to deadly respiratory diseases.
Demolition workers and renovators are at a particularly high risk of asbestos exposure these days, since older homes and office buildings slated for destruction often contain the mineral. The Environmental Working Group estimates that, even today, nearly 10,000 Americans die from asbestos-related diseases each year.
The organization notes that older men are especially hard hit, since roughly one in 125 men who die over the age of 50 perish from asbestos-related conditions.
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