Asbestos exposure can occur in a number of ways, but whatever the circumstances this type of exposure can and often does prove seriously hazardous to the health. Asbestos exposure can be dangerous when a person is exposed to disturbed asbestos – where particles and dust from asbestos become airborne and can therefore be ingested or swallowed. Prolonged exposure to asbestos or high level exposure can prove particularly risky, and this is why the people at the highest risk from asbestos related diseases are those that work or have worked with this substance.
Asbestos was once widely used all over the world and in a wide range of products such as insulation, household items, auto parts, and construction. However, it soon became clear that this material – once hailed miraculous due to its fire proof properties and cost effectiveness – could prove deadly and posed many health hazards to those exposed to disturbed asbestos. Although strict regulations have been implemented over recent years with regards to asbestos and asbestos exposure many people have already suffered the consequences of this type of exposure and are paying – or have already paid – the price.
Asbestos exposure can result in a number of adverse health effects, some more serious than others. Asbestosis and pleural plaques can result from asbestos exposure and these can cause discomfort and stress. However, perhaps the most notorious health effect associated with asbestos is mesothelioma, a form of cancer that is directly attributed to this type of exposure, and which can reduce the victim’s life span to a matter of months following diagnosis.
One thing to bear in mind with this type of cancer is that it has an unusually long latency period. In fact, those that were exposed to asbestos 20, 30, even 40 years ago may be carrying this cancer and may not yet know about it. By the time symptoms appear, it is often too late for any effective treatment, and as yet there is no cure for the cancer.
Asbestos exposure can occur in many ways. You may find that you are exposed to asbestos within the work place or the home, with many buildings containing asbestos both within the structure and within items kept in the building. You may also be exposed to naturally occurring asbestos, which can be found in the soil in some areas. However, the most common cause of high-level exposure is occupation asbestos exposure, where those working with asbestos or asbestos products are exposed to this material on a daily basis.
Some of the workers mostly likely to come across asbestos on a day-to-day basis and therefore most at risk included as insulators, plasterers, electricians, mechanics, bricklayers, carpenters, and other tradesmen. This is because these professionals worked closely with materials and products that contained asbestos. Also at risk were the families of these workers, as they could often ingest or breathe in asbestos fibers from the clothes, skin, or hair of the worker, and this could lead to the same effects.
Millions of workers have been exposed to asbestos over the years, and the unlucky ones have discovered several decades later just what an impact their work had on their health. Many of the cases of mesothelioma coming to light today are in men, as it was mainly men that worked with asbestos several decades ago. These workers are now finding out that they have this cancer and other asbestos related disorders, as the symptoms finally manifest.
Although it is now known that asbestos exposure is responsible for malignant mesothelioma and other forms of cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques, and other respiratory and health problems, this mineral can still be found in insulation materials in many places worldwide.
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