Saved By The Bell star, Dustin Diamond died from lung cancer he claimed to have gotten from hotel room mold or asbestos, is this a risk for other travelers?
Dustin Diamond Dies of Cancer
In early February 2021, Dustin Diamond died of small cell lung cancer. The actor who was famous for his portrayal of Samuel “Screech” Powers opposite Tiffany Thiessen, Mario Lopez, and Elizabeth Berkley on the Saturday morning mainstay, Saved By The Bell succumbed to small cell carcinoma, a type of lung cancer often attributed to smoking. When he was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma, he had experienced extreme weight loss common with that kind of cancer.
This led many to ask, “was Dustin Diamond a smoker?” The actor, aged 44 at his death, stated emphatically that he did not. However, Diamond was somewhat troubled since he left the show, struggling on the stand-up comedy circuit and trying to find his spot in the limelight even leading to a sex tape and a tell-all book, neither of which were at his direction reportedly.
It’s due to those reasons that the answer to the question, “did Dustin Diamond smoke” is (many believe), it’s more likely that he did rather than did not and it was ultimately the source of his cancer. However, representatives told TMZ that wasn’t the case.
Are Hotels and Motels to Blame?
There were two possible reasons that the hotels and motels that Diamond visited were thought to be to blame. One of them was mold in run-down spots where there were few alternatives.
Healthline puts the mold argument away pretty quickly.
“There is no evidence linking indoor exposure to black mold or any other type of mold with cancer. Mold is associated with other health problems, though.” It later goes on to add “The CDC states that there have been rare reports that these molds can cause serious health conditions like memory loss or pulmonary hemorrhage. However, there’s no proven link between mold and such health problems.
Black mold is not linked to lung or other cancers.” – Healthline
That leaves the asbestos argument. Asbestos has been linked to cancer for more than 40 years.
“Studies evaluating the cancer risk experienced by automobile mechanics exposed to asbestos through brake repair are limited, but the overall evidence suggests there is no safe level of asbestos exposure” – Cancer.gov
Asbestos exposure is certainly a cause for cancer so the question is just how many hotels and motels might have it. That number gets smaller and smaller every year. Since 1979 improved building requirements have all but eliminated the use of the product in modern construction.
It’s certainly possible that Diamond stayed in hotels and motels that predated this
What Can You Do About It?
First, avoid any property that has not had a major renovation in the last 40 years. Classic properties may make this harder to discern. However, many properties will keep these files on record. Local health authorities should also be able to clarify whether a property has been cleared of any Asbestos.
As a general rule, avoiding any hotel booked prior to this period will help. While this may not be available in all areas, it should be available in most and at a variety of price points. Major hotel groups will be compliant with these requirements as a matter of course and should be able to certify their hotels health and safety records.
Whether the answer to the question, “Did Screech smoke” is ultimately yes, his explanation is also possibly true. It is possible to develop lung cancer from staying in motels and hotels with asbestos. Particularly, those with a family history of cancer may be susceptible at a higher level than others. It may be doubtful that Diamond spent enough time in dingy motels to achieve this, but it is possible. If you have concerns about your lodging, inquire or seek other accommodations.
What do you think? Are hotels and motels to blame for Dustin Diamond’s death?