Asbestos Exposure - Asbestos has been an important component of industry since the late 1800s. Though use has been regulated and curbed in the last thirty years the material is still prevalent. Utilized mainly for its insulating properties, asbestos has long been heavily relied upon in manufacturing and construction. During this time workers and their families, consumers, homeowners and other individuals have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos, putting them at risk for developing mesothelioma and other diseases.
Health Effects Of Asbestos Exposure
Exposure to asbestos is extremely hazardous to the health. Whether individuals encounter asbestos in homes, on the job, in the environment or while using products containing the substance, inhalation or ingestion of asbestos can cause serious health problems:
- Chronic Bronchitis
- Colon Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Pleural Disease
- Stomach Cancer
Prolonged contact with airborne asbestos causes tremendous damage within the lungs, challenging breathing and making the body more susceptible to disease. With extended exposure more and more asbestos fibers build up in the airways, lung tissue and protective linings within the chest and abdomen. Due to the natural properties of asbestos crystals, asbestos fibers cannot be broken down by the body. Instead, the fibers continuously irritate tissue, resulting in swelling, frequent infection, hardening and scarring, which can develop into cancer.
How Much Exposure To Asbestos Is Safe?
It is important to know that there is no level of direct or indirect exposure to asbestos that is safe and any past contact with the material may have grave effects. The slow onset of asbestos related cancer can typically last ten to twenty or more years after exposure. Many victims of asbestos exposure experience few if any symptoms during that time, making early diagnosis challenging.