Asbestos Cancer From Constant Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos cancer is the result of direct or indirect high-level exposure to asbestos containing materials or ACM. The onslaught of an asbestos related cancer is not immediate. Asbestos-related cancer develops over time due to constant exposure. In most cases, asbestos cancer may take years to develop but in the end can be fatal.
Asbestos is a recognized carcinogen or cancer causing agent that mainly affects the lungs. Although there are cases wherein the asbestos fibers may also enter other parts of the body such as the intestines, esophagus, stomach, kidneys or the pancreas.
Constant exposure to asbestos alters the membrane that surrounds the lungs. Eventually, scar-like tissue builds up gradually in the lungs and the surrounding membrane. Scarring of the lungs is a condition referred to as asbestosis. The most common symptoms of asbestosis are shortness of breath, repeated coughing and at times, heart enlargement.
Background on Asbestos
Asbestos is a mineral that is mined much like copper, iron and lead. However unlike other minerals, asbestos breaks into fine fibers when crushed. These fibers are too small for the human eye to see. Once airborne, asbestos fibers can easily be swallowed or inhaled by an individual without even knowing it.
Asbestos was once a popularly used in construction for fire and soundproofing, insulation and for decorative purposes. Asbestos became very popular because of its many advantages. To begin with, asbestos is a strong and elastic material that is not flammable. It is also a poor conductor of electricity but a very effective material for insulation. In addition, it is resistant to rust. Unfortunately asbestos has been proven to be very harmful to people.
In the United States, there are more than 800,000 schools and public buildings across the country that has asbestos containing materials. But because of the danger posed by asbestos, the government has prohibited the production, processing and import of products with asbestos.
The Three Possible Ways of Contracting Asbestos Cancer
There are three possible ways for an individual to fall victim to asbestos cancer. The most common cause of an asbestos-related cancer is occupational exposure. This mainly affects people who work in the construction industry. Builders who renovate and refurbish buildings with asbestos causing materials are at great risk of developing asbestos cancer due to direct exposure.
Other industries that may put workers at risk of asbestos cancer are brake repairs for automobiles, mining and manufacturing of asbestos and shipbuilding. People that work in these types of businesses should use protective masks to protect them against asbestos fibers in the air.
The families of people whose work exposes them to asbestos are also at risk of developing asbestos cancer. This is known as paraoccupational exposure wherein family members become indirectly exposed to asbestos. More often than not, asbestos fibers will adhere to the clothes of builders exposed to asbestos at the work site. Families will end up inhaling the asbestos fibers released from the clothes that have been infected.
Even people who are not directly exposed to asbestos containing materials or those that do not work in an asbestos-related environment can contract asbestos cancer. People that work or live in an area contaminated by asbestos can get asbestos cancer through neighborhood exposure as asbestos fibers are can easily be released into the atmosphere during operations.