Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was once commonly used in the manufacturing of building materials. It was prized for its durability, heat resistance, and sound absorption properties. However, asbestos is now known to be a dangerous carcinogen that can cause serious health problems if it is inhaled.
There are many ways you can be exposed to asbestos. And while not many people are aware of the dangers, the truth is that asbestos exposure can lead to many serious health problems, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
To help you understand this matter better, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that will explain everything you need to know about asbestos exposure and the dangers it poses.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that was once commonly used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. Chemically speaking, asbestos is made up of long, thin fibers that are resistant to heat, fire, and chemical damage. These properties made it an ideal material for use in a variety of industries, including construction, shipbuilding, and automotive manufacturing.
It is also used in a variety of consumer products, such as hair dryers, electric blankets, and even some types of clothing. Asbestos was so widely used because it is an abundant mineral that can be easily mined and processed into a variety of different products. Unfortunately, it is now known that asbestos exposure can lead to many serious health problems.
How Can You Be Exposed to Asbestos?
There are many ways you can be exposed to asbestos. If you work in certain industries, such as construction, shipbuilding, or firefighting, you may be at risk of exposure. You may also be exposed if you live in an older home that contains asbestos-containing materials. Many houses that are built before the 1980s contain asbestos in the insulation, flooring, and pipes.
If asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed, they can release fibers into the air. It is often done during renovation or demolition projects. It may also happen if the materials are poorly maintained. For instance, if asbestos-containing insulation is allowed to deteriorate, it can release fibers into the air. Or if asbestos-containing flooring is sanded or power-washed, it can also release fibers.
What Are the Health Risks Associated with Asbestos Exposure?
Asbestos exposure has been linked to many serious health problems, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is most often caused by asbestos exposure. While mesothelioma is rare, it is also very difficult to treat. Not to mention, the prognosis is often not so good. The most common symptom of mesothelioma is shortness of breath, but it can also cause fatigue, weight loss, and chest pain. So if you’ve been exposed to asbestos and you start to experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor right away.
Lung cancer is another serious health problem that has been linked to asbestos exposure. Lung cancer occurs when the cells in the lungs begin to grow out of control. Asbestos fibers can damage these cells and cause them to become cancerous. Even though there are many other causes of lung cancer, asbestos exposure is one of the most preventable, so it’s essential to be aware of the risks.
Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease that is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. As the fibers accumulate in the lungs, they cause scarring and inflammation. This can lead to shortness of breath, coughing, and fatigue. In severe cases, asbestosis can be fatal. However, if you are diagnosed early, it is possible to manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
What To Do If You Are Exposed to Asbestos
Even though asbestos exposure can be dangerous, there are steps you can take to protect both your health and your rights. Here are the most important things to do if you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos:
Find a Good Lawyer
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos at work, you may be entitled to compensation. There are a variety of laws in place that protect workers who have been exposed to asbestos. For instance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a set of regulations known as the Asbestos Standard that requires employers to take steps to protect workers from exposure.
The first step is to find a good lawyer who specializes in asbestos exposure cases. This is particularly important if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options and can guide you through the process of filing a claim. And if you were exposed to asbestos at work, your lawyer can help you file a workers’ compensation claim and /or a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
See a Doctor Right Away
If you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to see a doctor right away. A doctor can order tests to find out if you’ve been exposed and if so, how much. If the results of these tests show that you have been exposed to asbestos, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. This may include making lifestyle changes and taking medication.
In some cases, surgery may also be necessary. For instance, if you have asbestosis, your doctor may recommend that you have surgery to remove the damaged tissue from your lungs. If you have mesothelioma, there are a variety of treatment options available, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Prevent Future Exposure
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to take steps to prevent future exposure. The first step is to remove any asbestos-containing materials from your home or workplace. If you have asbestos-containing materials in your home, you should hire a professional to remove them. And if you work with asbestos-containing materials, you should make sure that your employer is following the OSHA Asbestos Standard and taking steps to protect you from exposure. That is, providing the right PPEs and prioritizing dust control in the workplace.
In addition, you should avoid using products that contain asbestos. For instance, some older buildings still have asbestos insulation. If you live in an older building, you should check with the landlord to see if there are any plans to replace the insulation. And if you’re considering purchasing a home, you should have it inspected for asbestos before you make the purchase.
Monitor Your Health
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to monitor your health closely. You should see your doctor for regular checkups and get any recommended screenings, such as chest x-rays or lung function tests. And if you develop any symptoms of asbestos-related diseases, such as shortness of breath, coughing, or fatigue, you should see a doctor right away. Early detection is key to the successful treatment of asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestos exposure can be dangerous, but as you can see, there are steps you can take to protect your health and your legal rights. If you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos, see a doctor right away and find a good lawyer who specializes in asbestos exposure cases. You should also take steps to prevent future exposure and monitor your health closely. By following these tips, you can minimize your risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.