Asbestos and Lung Health

About 80% of all Mesothelioma patients have a history of exposure to asbestos. Most of the patients were employed in an industry that involved the use of asbestos in some fashion. As well as direct occupational exposure, indirect exposure of family members is not uncommon. An exposed individual can carry the asbestos particles on their clothing, skin, and in their hair when they return home and this is referred to as para-occupational exposure.Asbestos has been mined and used commercially since the year 1800.The risk of asbestos-related disease increased with heavy and long duration exposure to asbestos. However, some individuals with low exposure have developed Mesothelioma. On the other hand, not all workers who are heavily exposed develop asbestos-related diseases.

At Risk Jobs and Locations

Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause Mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer. Low exposure levels of the tiny fibers or asbestos dust are very dangerous. After the 1980’s workplace exposure, asbestos became rare but to identify the disease it might take up to 40 years to notice the signs of Mesothelioma asbestos lung cancer.

Many patients were exposed to asbestos fibers in their workplace, which is known as occupational exposure. Another form of exposure is called Para occupational exposure. With this form of asbestos exposure it can be hard to determine the source but it is usually contracted by a family member who has been exposed in the workplace.

If the family member is exposed to asbestos dust or fibers from the worker’s clothing, they are exposed to dust released which may be inhaled. Family members that are exposed in this way, may be exposed to smaller amounts of asbestos, but are still at risk.
In the same way, people who have houses or work location that are exposed to asbestos may also be at risk even though there is no direct contact. The fine asbestos dust can easily be carried by the wind or through a ventalation system.

In the past, some of the industries that could have been a source of asbestos were factories, shipyards, power plants, oil refineries, steel manufacturing plants, and any company or job site involved with construction or the removal of old building materials. Often the demolition of buildings that contain asbestos can release the dust into the environment, and trucks hauling the materials can further spread fine asbestos fibers.

Likewise, people who live near these types of sites are likely to have asbestos are also at peril. Refineries along with power plants, steel mills, factories, shipyards, and building demolition are the kinds of work sites which release asbestos fibers into the surroundings and pollute nearby residential neighborhoods.

Asbestos in today’s world

Worldwide, 60 countries have banned the use of asbestos completely or partially. For example USA, Australia, UK, Canada, France, Brazil. Asbestos has vast usage in construction, shipbuilding, and the automobile sector. Because of the high monetary involvement, the use of asbestos cannot be completely curbed it but can surely be limited.

If you work or have worked in an industry that uses asbestos it’s important to have regular checks with your Doctor. The same should be done for family members. As with any from of cancer early diagnosis improves treatment success.

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