The Silent Danger of Asbestos Exposure: What You Need to Know
Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral once hailed for its fire-resistant properties, has a dark side that has left countless individuals at risk. For many decades, asbestos was used in a variety of products from insulation to floor tiles. While it may have seemed like a miraculous material for builders and manufacturers, its impact on human health has been anything but miraculous.
Understanding Asbestos and Its Uses
Asbestos is a term that refers to a group of six naturally occurring silicate minerals. These minerals have long, thin fibrous crystals. Because of its strength and resistance to heat, asbestos was widely used in a variety of building materials, including roofing, flooring, and insulation. Additionally, it was used in automotive parts, such as brakes and clutches.
The Hidden Danger
The issue with asbestos arises when materials containing it are disturbed. If asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) break down, they can release tiny asbestos fibers into the air. When these fibers are inhaled, they can become trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time. Over time, these trapped fibers can cause inflammation and scarring, leading to serious health problems.
Health Impacts and Mesothelioma
One of the most devastating health conditions caused by asbestos exposure is
mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that most often affects the lining of the lungs, but can also affect the lining of the abdomen and, more rarely, the heart or testicles.
Symptoms of mesothelioma can take 20 to 50 years to appear after exposure. This long latency period can make it challenging to diagnose, often leading to late-stage detection.
Common symptoms of mesothelioma include:
Shortness of breath
Fluid around the lungs
Dry cough or wheezing
Other health conditions linked to asbestos exposure include lung cancer, asbestosis (a chronic lung condition), and other cancers, such as throat, esophageal and colon
If you live or work in an older building, it's essential to be aware of potential ACMs. It's crucial not to disturb these materials. If you believe there's asbestos in your environment, seek professional assistance to test and potentially remove it.
Those in occupations like construction, shipbuilding, and firefighting are at a higher risk due to the nature of their work. It's crucial for these workers to have proper protective gear and undergo regular health check-ups.
Asbestos exposure's silent danger is a poignant reminder of the need for vigilance in our environment. By staying informed and proactive, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from the potential hazards posed by this once-common material. If you feel like you were exposed, call us to find out more information about the asbestos claims process.