Refesher–What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a group of minerals that fall under the classification of fibrous crystals. Asbestos minerals are commonly referred to by their color (blue asbestos, white asbestos, etc.). Asbestosis fibers are microscopic, durable and are both resistant to fire and other chemical breakdowns. For these reasons. Asbestos has been used in a wide range of industrial and commercial functions.
The properties of asbestos along with its strength has allowed it to be integrated into a variety of products. Asbestos can be found in:
- Roof shingles
- Floor tiles
- Ceiling materials
- Cement compounds
- Automotive parts
Due to its dangers and toxicity level that asbestos exposure has been scientifically proven to cause, its usage is now strictly regulated.
3 Health Effects of Asbestos
People who are exposed to high asbestos concentration, long periods of asbestos, and more frequent asbestos exposure, are all at risk of experiencing asbestos related diseases and disorders.
1. Lung cancer
The risk of getting lung cancer from asbestos depends on several factors, including the level, duration, and the type and size of the asbestos containing materials.
People don’t develop cancer until about 20 to 30 years later after asbestos exposure. Lung cancer happens to those who experience long exposure. However, simply being exposed to asbestos for as little as 1 month can increase your risk of getting lung cancer later.
In the general population, mesothelioma is a rare condition. When it happens, it's found to usually be in workers who were exposed to asbestos, as well as families.
Malignant mesothelioma is typically a fatal cancer that forms on the linings of the lungs, abdominal region, and heart cavities. This type of cancer usually happens about 30 to 40 years after exposure.
3. Pleural disease
This a lung disease which is non-malignant. It will cause changes to membrane around the lung and chest cavity regions. This membrane may thicken, develop in isolated areas, and fluid build up may occur.
People with pleural diseases may have trouble breathing while others can have lungs which do not function as efficiently as they once did.