Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by Tabraiz
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can be mined and woven into various products without harming the environment or human health. However, some people are worried about possible side effects of asbestos, such as lung cancer. To help this topic come to light and to help you source information on it, below are 5 facts you should learn about asbestos.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that has been used in many applications because of its excellent physical properties. It is resistant to heat, fire, and electrical and chemical changes, flexible and durable. Asbestos is found in more than 3,000 products, including insulation for boilers and pipes, flooring felt, ceiling tiles, carpet backings, roofing materials, and cement sheets.
Asbestos is mainly composed of silicon, oxygen, and other minerals. The degree of toxicity depends on the type of asbestos fiber (length, thickness, and surface area), the quantity inhaled, and how long it remains in the lungs.
Asbestos was once heralded for its versatility
Asbestos was once heralded for its versatility. The mineral’s high tensile strength and resistance to heat, corrosion, and fire made it an ideal material for use in building materials, insulation, and even cosmetics. But in the 1970s, scientists began to link asbestos to lung cancer and other diseases.
The United States outlawed the use of asbestos in construction products in 1976 due to health concerns about its carcinogenic properties. However, many commercial buildings built before that date still contain asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). One out of three schools built before 1980 contain ACMs that could be released during demolition or renovation work — posing a risk not only for demolition workers but also students and teachers who spend time inside these buildings every day.
Asbestos is classified into three types
There are three types of asbestos: chrysotile (white asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), and amosite (brown asbestos). All three types are harmful, but they have different health risks. Chrysotile is considered less dangerous than other types of asbestos because it breaks apart easily when handled and doesn’t release fibers easily into the air when disturbed by movement or vibration. Crocidolite and amosite are considered more dangerous because they don’t break apart easily and release fibers into the air when disturbed by movement or vibration.
Asbestos has many health effects
Asbestos has many health effects. The health effects of asbestos result from the tiny fibres that float around in the air when asbestos is disturbed. The breathing in these fibers can affect various parts of your body over time. Anyone can develop an illness if asbestos fibers are breathed in because there is no safe way to handle asbestos fibers. Here are a few illnesses caused by asbestos:
Asbestos can cause a buildup of scar tissue in the lungs called pleural plaque. These plaques can also develop in other areas, such as the abdomen and chest wall. Scarring makes it hard to breathe. Asbestos-related pleural plaques are usually diagnosed by x-ray or CT scan.
Asbestosis is a chronic (long-term) lung disease. It is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Asbestosis causes shortness of breath and makes it hard to walk upstairs or down hills. People who have asbestosis may cough up blood or mucus (spit), especially after they exercise or if they are exposed to cold air. If you worked for Georgia Pacific Corporation and you were affected by the asbestos, you could seek compensation.
Lung cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the lungs. Most cancers that start in the lungs grow slowly and do not spread (metastasize) early on; this means that most people with lung cancer live for many years after their diagnosis when treatment might be available but not required yet. When lung cancer does metastasize, however, it can be fatal within months or even weeks of diagnosis because there are often no signs or symptoms until this point, leaving little time for treatment before death occurs.
The main type of cancer associated with asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs or abdomen. Mesothelioma can take 30 years or more to develop after initial exposure to asbestos fibers.
You can protect yourself from asbestos exposure
Asbestos exposure can cause serious health problems. If you have been exposed to asbestos, you may be at risk for developing diseases. Protect yourself from asbestos exposure by taking these steps:
Be aware of asbestos-containing materials in your home. Look for warning labels on pipes and other materials that contain asbestos.
Do not disturb any damaged insulation or ceilings that may contain asbestos-containing material that could become airborne during repair work or renovation projects.
Wear protective equipment when working with or removing damaged insulation or ceilings that may contain asbestos-containing material that could become airborne during repair work or renovation projects.
Have damaged insulation or ceilings tested by an expert before making repairs or renovations so that you know whether the material contains asbestos before disturbing it.
While it can be difficult to protect yourself from asbestos exposure (especially if you work with old buildings or any kind of construction), it is possible to protect your health when working around this dangerous mineral.