Asbestos, The Risks Associated With Asbestos and Asbestos Related Diseases

Background
Bonded Asbestos
Asbestos Related Diseases
Asbestosis
Lung Cancer
Mesothelioma

Background

Asbestos is the name given to a number of naturally occurring, fibrous silicate minerals mined for their useful properties such as thermal insulation, chemical and thermal stability, and high tensile strength. Asbestos is commonly used as an acoustic insulator, and in thermal insulation, fire proofing and other building materials. Many products in use today contain asbestos.

Asbestos is made up of microscopic bundles of fibres that may become airborne when asbestos containing materials are damaged or disturbed. When these fibers get into the air they may be inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause significant health problems.

Bonded Asbestos

Bonded asbestos products are made by bonding asbestos fibres together with a resin binder or cement to form the required product. Bonded asbestos may contain white, blue or brown asbestos. The bonded asbestos is formed into products like flat 'fibro' sheets, corrugated sheets, pipes and flues, tiles or compressed asbestos cement (A-C) sheeting.

Asbestos Related Diseases

Products made from asbestos may be disturbed by fire, hail, cutting, breaking or other modification. This can result in fine asbestos fibres becoming airborne and inhaled through the mouth or nose. Continued exposure can increase the amount of fibers that remain in the lung and the body may not be able to naturally expel them.The time from exposure to the onset of asbestos related diseases is quite long. It may take 25 to 40 years for a disease to be detected. They may then cause disease like lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a serious, progressive, long-term non-cancer disease of the lungs. It is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers that irritate lung tissues and cause the tissues to scar. The scarring makes it hard for oxygen to get into the blood. Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath and a dry, crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling. There is no effective treatment for asbestosis.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer causes the largest number of deaths related to asbestos exposure. People who work in the mining, milling, manufacturing of asbestos, and those who use asbestos and its products are more likely to develop lung cancer than the general population. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are coughing and a change in breathing. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, persistent chest pains, hoarseness, and anemia.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining (membrane) of the lung, chest, abdomen, and heart and almost all cases are linked to exposure to asbestos. This disease may not show up until many years after asbestos exposure. This is why great efforts are being made to prevent school children from being exposed.

Smoking increases the risk of developing illness from asbestos exposure.

Source: US EPA and AZoCleantech

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