Mesothelioma Blog

Knowing the Hazards of Asbestos and its Prevention

By November 12, 2018March 8th, 201919 Comments

Want to know more about the Hazards of Asbestos? Asbestos is a chronic respiratory condition. The inhaled fibers irritate the lung tissues and cause scarring. Symptoms include shortness of breath and a crackling sound in the lungs when inhaling. The disease is disabling and usually fatal. Workers who have renovated or demolished buildings containing asbestos may be at risk.

Hazards of asbestos

Lung cancer which is one of the hazards of Asbestos is the cause of most deaths from asbestos exposure. Mining, milling, manufacturing, and use of asbestos and asbestos products put the worker at risk. Symptoms include a cough, change in breathing and shortness of breath. Smoking in combination with asbestos exposure increases the risk of lung cancer. Symptoms of stage four mesothelioma should be taken very serious as well.

What really is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the name for a group of naturally occurring mineral fibers which are strong and both heat and chemically resistant.  Due to these properties, asbestos was commonly used in the past as insulation and fireproofing. It was also used as a component in other building materials. There are three main types of asbestos found in Ireland – chrysotile (white asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos). The risk associated with exposure to asbestos relates to the possibility that the fibers within the asbestos-containing material (ACM) can become released into the air and are then inhaled. Breathing in air containing asbestos fibers can lead to asbestos-related diseases (mainly cancers of the chest and lungs). These diseases will not occur immediately and can take from 15 – 60 years to develop.

What are the hazards of asbestos?

When talking about hazards of asbestos, breathing asbestos fibers can cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs called asbestosis and result in loss of lung function that often progresses to disability and death. Asbestos also causes cancer of the lung and other diseases such as mesothelioma of the pleura which is a fatal malignant tumor of the membrane lining the cavity of the lung or stomach. Mesothelioma cancer is regarded to be one of the deadliest hazards of asbestos. Epidemiologic evidence has increasingly shown that all asbestos fiber types, including the most commonly used form of asbestos, chrysotile, causes mesothelioma in humans.

Where is asbestos found in homes and residential buildings?

Water, hail, and wind can damage structures and contribute to the release of fibers from asbestos-containing materials (see examples below). When these materials dry out, they can break down into very small fibers, which can get into the air and be easily inhaled during cleanup work.

What’s so dangerous about asbestos?

1. Asbestos fibers are very small. If you inhale them, they go deep into your lungs, and stay there, possibly causing disease 10 to 40 years later.

2. Asbestos is (a lung disease) and mesothelioma (a rare type of cancer) are both diseases that only people exposed to asbestos get.

3. You’re 90 times more likely to develop lung cancer if you smoke and are exposed to asbestos than people who do not smoke and are not exposed to asbestos.

 Can asbestos be reduced- what can be done to reduce the hazards of asbestos?

These standards reduce the risk to workers by requiring that employers provide personal exposure monitoring to assess the risk and hazard awareness training for operations where there is any potential exposure to asbestos. Airborne levels of asbestos are never to exceed legal worker exposure limits. There is no “safe” level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber. If you or a loved one is showing signs of stage four mesothelioma symptoms, it is suggested that they speak with a professional physician as soon as possible.

Methods for Controlling Exposure:

In order to control the hazards of asbestos or its exposure, it is necessary you follow the below tips which are:

>>Avoid disturbing sources of asbestos until proper steps for assessment and control can be implemented.

>>Never smoke, eat, or drink in areas where asbestos exposure is possible.

>>Avoid dry sweeping, shoveling, or other dry clean-up of dust and debris containing asbestos.

>>Wet materials before and during cutting, breaking, or other work that might release asbestos fibers into the air.

>>Wear protective outer clothing that can be removed and cleaned or discarded.

>>If work involving asbestos-containing materials must be done, use a NIOSH-approved respirator to protect workers from inhaling asbestos fibers.

>>Wash exposed parts of the body with soap and water.

>>Avoid carrying asbestos fibers out of a work site where they can later be inhaled by others (e.g., by family members at home).

General Asbestos Awareness

Again the danger or hazards of asbestos is in its release into the air. Each of us has walked on asbestos tiles somewhere at some point in time. There is no harm it that. However, if you take the tile and drill holes in it or take a file to it, you will release asbestos fibers into the air which could enter your lungs. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with stage four mesothelioma, here at the asbestos cancer organization we are fully suited to help you find treatment options and a good mesothelioma attorney.

On the other hand, it would be difficult to do anything with asbestos-based insulation without the risk of getting some of it airborne. This is called being friable.

If the material is positive for asbestos, only a properly trained crew can remove, repair, encapsulate, or enclose it. They must be appropriately trained to remove and dispose of the material. The best thing you can do if you come across some friable material that you believe may be asbestos containing is to stop and ask prior to disturbing it. This is for your safety.


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