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November 20, 2017

Asbestos Exposure Continued


Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos Exposure – Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicon-based group of minerals which appears as fiber bundles. When processed, the bundles can be made into extremely thin but very resilient threads. Among the properties they possess are non-conduction of electric currents and remarkable resistance to heat. In addition, asbestos are also known to be highly resistant to harsh chemicals which helps in their durability. Several industries have taken note of these characteristics and consequently used asbestos in a wide variety of applications.

asbestos exposure

Why is asbestos so prevalent?

In the early days, the issues that come with asbestos exposure were not yet known. Asbestos quickly rose in popularity as a fantastic material for insulation and strengthening. Large-scale mining took off in the US in the later part of the nineteenth century and grew exponentially during the Second World War. It was mixed with cement and other construction materials to make them stronger. It also made its way into plastics, paints, tiles and adhesives. Asbestos was extensively used as an additive to roofs for insulation and wall boards for fireproofing as well as sound absorption. Automobile manufacturers used asbestos to toughen up their clutch pads and brake shoes. Alarmingly, it somehow made its way to things like crayons which increased the risk of asbestos exposure for children.

asbestos exposure

What are the effects of exposure to asbestos?

Asbestos becomes dangerous when inhaled. When products which contain it degrade, the fibers may be released into the air and breathed in by unsuspecting people. These fibers can stay logged in the lungs for years, piling up and damaging the tissues. Eventually, the lungs can inflame and get clogged with catastrophic results. Exposure to asbestos can lead to several different types of cancer such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, as well as colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers. Some effects are not as lethal such as pleural plaques, asbestosis, and pleural effusions.

Which people have the greatest risk of asbestos exposure?

Asbestos can be found in many places whether in the city or in the countryside. People are likely to have exposure to asbestos at least once in their lifetime but these are typically not harmful as the amounts are insignificant. Exposure only becomes dangerous when sustained throughout a long period as the fibers accumulate slowly inside the lungs. It is when this reaches a critical level that substantial damage occurs. The people who are truly at risk are the factory workers, shipbuilders, and miners who deal with the material every day. Firefighters, construction workers, and automobile mechanics also face significant health risks.

What factors increase the likelihood of disease development?

As previously mentioned, not all exposure to asbestos will lead to disease. The factors which will determine the probability include dosage of fibers inhaled, duration of exposure, the physical properties of the particular fibers, the origin of the exposure, and the person’s predisposition to lung problems given his medical history. An already fragile lung due to years of heavy smoking and other lung illnesses is more susceptible to damage due to asbestos. It should also be noted that there are different forms of asbestos fibers and while they are all dangerous, some are more harmful than others.

asbestos exposure

Asbestos Exposure Signs

A person suffering from acute asbestos exposure is likely to exhibit the following symptoms: anemia, lethargy, weight loss, swollen neck, lack of appetite, trouble swallowing, chest pains, blood in the sputum, enduring cough, and difficulty breathing. Doctors may recommend a chest x-ray for preliminary diagnosis. If they find that there is sufficient evidence that point to asbestos exposure, they may conduct a CT scan for clearer imaging of the lung damage. However, to actually detect the fibers for certain, either a bronchoscopy or a biopsy must be performed.

Asbestos Exposure Protection

Knowing the dangers associated with exposure to asbestos, various government agencies have come up with regulations to minimize accidental contact with the material. This includes the use of mandatory protective gear for workers in hazardous areas, all of which must pass a set standard. Companies are also encouraged to adhere to the recommend safety procedures. Employees who feel inadequately protected in their workplace can ask for more information or request an asbestos inspection from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA.

asbestos exposure


asbestos exposure

Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos Exposure