Quoted from //www.aolnews.com/killer-in-the-attic/article/colorado-man-william-cawlfield-blames-zonolite-insulation-for-his-cancer/19731489
Cancer Patient’s Home a ‘Living Laboratory’ for Deadly Fibers
Andrew Schneider Senior Public Health Correspondent
AOL News This is Part 2 of a four-part series on an asbestos-tainted insulation called Zonolite, a killer than lurks in the attics and walls of millions of homes.
DENVER (Nov. 29) — The government repeatedly insists that the millions of people with asbestos-contaminated vermiculite insulation in their attics are safe if they don’t disturb the lethal material. Tell that to 71-year-old William Cawlfield, who has mesothelioma, a cancer that sometimes takes decades to surface and claim its victims.
Last month, Cawlfield stood outside the two-story red-brick farmhouse that had been his family’s home for more than a century. He watched a man and a woman wearing respirators and dressed head to toe in Tyvek carefully remove something deadly from inside. He was paying $15,000 to have them do so.
Cawlfield Family Photo
William Cawlfield, 71, paid $15,000 to have specially trained asbestos-removal experts take Zonolite from the attic in his century-old family home in Pueblo, Colo.Testing conducted at Cawlfield’s old house in Pueblo, Colo., by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Denver regional office found that high levels of the lethal fibers were released from the Zonolite insulation that was spread between the rafters in its attic.
Cawlfield was 15 when he and his father installed the Zonolite insulation.
“I used to play up there and kept my toys and a bunch of books because it was like a sand pile where I could hide things,” he said, “because I had no idea that the asbestos was in it.”
This lack of knowledge could be the reason he has undergone three surgeries to keep himself alive.
In This Series
Part 1: Government Refuses to Act on Cancer-Causing Insulation
Madison Square Garden Case Illustrates Paranoia
What to Do If You Have Zonolite Insulation
Part 2: Cancer Patient’s Home a ‘Living Laboratory’ for Deadly Fibers
Part 3: ‘In Libby, There Was No Maybe’ About Dangers
Part 4: Asbestos Dangers Known Centuries Ago, but Battle Continues
Cawlfield wasn’t hurting at first. No pain or symptoms at all. But after repeated reminders from his wife and sister of a family history of heart disease, he found himself beneath an elaborate X-ray machine having his heart scanned for calcium build-up.
His heart was fine, he says, but a couple of enlarged lymph nodes popped up during the scan.
He bounced between Denver’s large hospitals, enduring whatever X-rays, scans and sonograms each expert had to offer. Finally, a radiologist subjected him to a positron emission tomography, or PET, scan and found something.
“Well, your abdominal cavity lights up like a Christmas tree. If you were a woman I’d say you have ovarian cancer,” Cawlfield recalled being told.
It turned out to be peritoneal mesothelioma — a rare cancer in the lining of the abdomen. Usually, mesothelioma is found on the internal chest wall or the outer lining of the lungs. But wherever it surfaces, asbestos exposure is almost always the cause. The disease can take 20 to 40 years to surface, but it kills quickly.