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Asbestos Dangers

Asbestos dangers can come from many sources. Common asbestos dangers include disease such as cancer, specifically Mesothelioma, caused by inhalation of what were once common building materials. Other health dangers from asbestos exposure also exist.

 

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The dangers of asbestos inhalation impact those who have breathed in some of the 30 million tons of asbestos used in the construction of industrial sites, office buildings, schools, shipyards and homes starting over a century ago.

In 1935, the American Journal of Cancer published an article warning about the asbestos dangers and linking this common mineral used in building materials to cancer.

Besides mesothelioma, one of the most common dangers from asbestos inhalation is asbestosis, which is the scarring of the lining of the lungs. The most common symptoms of asbestosis are shortness of breath, persistent cough and often occurring in distressing spasms. Other symptoms may include chest pain and tightness, Hemoptysis and appetite loss.

Mesothelioma itself poses the most significant asbestos danger. Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body's internal organs. It is reported that 70 percent to 80 percent of those who contract Mesothelioma have a history of asbestos exposure at work.

Approximately 3,000 new cases of Mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year, though of late, many high-profile mesothelioma lawsuits have been going to court. In fact, right now, Congress has before it several bills asking to limit the damages that can be assessed due to asbestos-related Mesothelioma. Checking with an asbestos lawyer about the current federal and state laws is advised for those considering a lawsuit.

Even though it is not current news, one of the largest asbestos dangers remains to mechanics who service and repair brakes and clutches and risk heavy exposure to asbestos dust. Even though precautions are usually taken, asbestos dust can remain on a mechanic's clothing and be brought home inconspicuously to other members of the mechanic's family.

While many assume that asbestos has been banned from all manufacturing, this simply is not true. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have enacted an "Asbestos Ban and Phaseout Rule" on some specific uses for asbestos such as corrugated paper, commercial paper and "new uses" for asbestos, but a ban from using asbestos is far from evident.

The asbestos dangers from commercial uses come in the asbestos fibers themselves. The three most dangerous types of asbestos fibers are:

  • Chrysotile, or white asbestos, which is white-gray in color and found in serpentine rock.
  • Amosite or brown asbestos.
  • Crocidolite or blue asbestos.

Amosite and Crocidolite are especially dangerous since they have extremely small, needle-like fibers that can get logged in the lung indefinitely and promote scarring and many times, eventually asbestosis or malignant mesothelioma. It can take 30 - 50 years for asbestos-related diseases to appear so even though one has not been recently exposed, past events and exposure can play heavily in current medical conditions. Mesothelioma treatment usually focuses on extending a persons life rather than delivering a cure since those who are diagnosed are usually done so in the later stages of the disease process.

For more information on asbestos dangers and how to identify potential problem areas if you have an older home, see the CPSC website


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

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