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The inundation of advertisements for attorneys specializing in mesothelioma related
litigation has played a major role in increasing awareness of the deadly disease and of the
dangers of asbestos. For the majority of the public, mesothelioma is merely something heard
about during television commercial breaks but the widespread usage of asbestos throughout
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has major public health implications in America and
around the world today. The issues we will discuss have countless applications in law, politics,
and medicine. For the purposes of this paper we will focus on the medical applications of
research into p16 deletions in malignant mesothelioma. However, complete understanding of
the broader significance of the research requires a background exploration into the history
behind the use of asbestos in our buildings, homes, and products, the pathology of the
disease, and its causes.