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Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk Fact Sheet

Due to its strength and resistance to flame, the material asbestos was previously widely employed in various items. Nevertheless, we now understand that asbestos exposure can result in major health issues, such as cancer. Knowing the risks and signs of diseases linked to asbestos exposure is crucial if you have been exposed to it.


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What are the health effects of asbestos?

Serious health consequences in the body can result from asbestos exposure. Fibres are simple to breathe in and contaminate the body, where they can lead to lung conditions like asbestosis and pleura and impair breathing. Heart enlargement, mesothelioma, and lung cancer are further diseases that can be brought on. A further indirect effect of the direct risks of asbestos fibers breathed is the increased impedance of blood flow to the lungs.

Studies on people have linked asbestos exposure to a number of significant lung conditions. Asbestos fibers are easily breathed in and can travel to the lower parts of the lung, where they can cause moderate fibrotic lung disease (asbestosis) and pleura thickening. Death and other issues like this include diminished respiratory function. Malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer are two other conditions that are more likely to develop after prolonged asbestos exposure.


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Lung harm brought on by solvents has a long history. Lung cancer and mesothelioma risk are also increased by solvent inhalation. It’s against the law to expose others to the effects of solvent inhalation within a home, and prolonged inhalation can impair lung function. Your home must obtain a Safe Soil certificate to demonstrate effective indoor solvent protection, according to the California state administrative code.

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Some of the world’s asbestos materials are safe for humans to ingest. Most persons who are exposed to asbestos fibers start experiencing serious health problems within five years or less. Long-term health issues that can result from asbestos exposure, like lung cancer and mesothelioma, are prevented by asbestosis and the proper treatment. Even while the benefits warrant staying put, the line between short-term and long-term effects on health can cause workers to leave their jobs.

If they: – fly over areas with a high concentration of asbestos; – fly over the ground for longer lengths of time; or – fly over areas with widespread asbestos, those who frequently take flights may also be more at risk for asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.

Different types of asbestos materials carry varying levels of risk.

Asbestos fibers provide little damage to health if they are present in a stable material like asbestos-cement sheeting like fibro and are in good condition. However, if fibro or other bonded asbestos sheeting is damaged, broken, or handled improperly, fibers may come loose and become airborne, providing a health danger. It can become dangerous if it is disturbed or removed improperly.

Asbestos fibers are not matrix-bound in products like pipe lagging and sprayed roof insulation. When these materials are disturbed or removed, a high concentration of fibers are far more likely to be discharged into the environment.

Asbestos from amphibole

The fibers of amphibole asbestos are angular and straight. Five recognized types exist:

The Crocidolite

– Amote

– Ancyllite

– Tremolite

– Actinolite

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Diseases Linked to Asbestos

According to scientific research, asbestos exposure is a risk factor for a number of illnesses, including cancer.

Exposure to asbestos is the main cause of the malignancy mesothelioma. The mineral also contributes to lung, ovarian, and laryngeal cancers linked to asbestos exposure.

– Asbestos

Plural effusions

Plaques in the pleura

– Pleurisy

– Diffuse thickening of the pleura


Risks of Asbestos Exposure

There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, although the worst consequences usually occur when a person is exposed to a lot of it, or when they are exposed often over a long period of time.

With each exposure, asbestos builds up in the body, and there is currently no known way to undo the harm it does.

Once in the air, fibers are simple to breathe in. It’s crucial to keep asbestos-containing materials undisturbed. People who reside close to deposits of naturally occurring asbestos should also refrain from disturbing any soil that might be polluted.

Men in their 60s or older make up the bulk of asbestos-related disease patients. This is due to the extended latency period of asbestos-related disorders, which frequently takes decades to manifest. Typically, they can be traced back to occupational exposure at historically male-dominated workplaces.


The Faces of Exposure to Asbestos

From the 1930s until the 1970s, the U.S. military utilized asbestos extensively, particularly aboard Navy ships, which contributed to the disproportionate burden of asbestos-related disease experienced by veterans.

Due to secondhand exposure, family members of veterans and other individuals employed in the asbestos business are also at increased risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease.

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People who reside close to an asbestos-contaminated mine or processing plant run the danger of being exposed to the environment. There have been work sites for the asbestos industry all around the country, including at Ambler, Pennsylvania, and famous locations like Grand Central Terminal in New York.

For instance, vermiculite mining for decades close to the Superfund site in Libby, Montana, resulted in one of the biggest environmental catastrophes in American history. Numerous Libby inhabitants perished as a result of the asbestos contamination spread by the ore, which was found to have small amounts of asbestos.

How to Spot Products Containing Asbestos

Small asbestos filaments are invisible and tasteless. The only way to identify asbestos in an unmarked material, unless it is explicitly designated as such, is to send a sample to a lab for testing or to engage a certified asbestos inspector.

As a result,

Numerous products contain asbestos, thus it’s crucial to stay away from them all. This applies to both products with an obvious asbestos warning label and those with a subtle asbestos warning label.

It is crucial to be aware of the potential risks and health impacts associated with asbestos exposure because it can result in major health threats.

Each year, more than 225,000 new instances of cancer are found in the US. And only 14% of cancer patients survive five years.

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