Asbestos is a material used in different aspects of building and construction needs. Its widespread use was experienced between the 1950s and late 1980s. The material is still used to date in some companies and factories due to its durability, good insulation, and fire resistance properties. Asbestos is, however, associated with health risks making it dangerous, especially in extreme exposure.
The Use and Application of Asbestos
There are several products made with asbestos and used in construction and building industries. Water and drainage pipes, corrugated roofing sheets, gutters, vinyl floor tiles, textured paint, and roof shingles are some of the products made with elements of asbestos and used in construction. Firefighters also use asbestos in shipbuilding, auto mechanics, and farming equipment. The attractive properties of asbestos and which has encouraged its widespread use are:
- Heat resistance
- Strength under tension
- Suitable for reinforcement and weaving
- Electrical resistance
- Water absorbency and resistance
- Corrosion resistance
Despite these attractive properties, asbestos’s associated health risk factors make it a danger to the people around.
Health Risks of Asbestos
Scientific research and medical evidence prove the fact that working or living in a building with materials containing asbestos becomes harmful when there is disturbance causing asbestos fibers to be released into the air and the surroundings. When there is constant disturbance and exposure to asbestos fibers, the chances of developing diseases also increase.
When the asbestos fibers or dust become airborne and inhaled into the lungs, and enters the bloodstream, the health risks are higher. The higher the frequency of asbestos exposure, the greater the chances of developing related diseases. This might take decades before the effects are manifested, which in most cases is too late for the fatal diseases to be treated or managed. Occupation exposure is the major risk factor for asbestos.
Asbestos Related Diseases
Mesothelioma is a rare but deadly form of cancer caused by repeated exposure to asbestos dust and fibers. Unlike other forms of cancer, mesothelioma takes decades – 20 to 50 years – to be detected and appear. The risk of getting this type of cancer is higher for workers in the construction or building industries in constant exposure. This is an occupational-related disease. You should click here to learn more about mesothelioma, treatment options, legal support, and compensation.
While lung cancer is relatively common among people using tobacco, it has also been linked with asbestos exposure. It is malignant, and when early medical intervention is not considered, the tumor can grow and obstruct the airways making it fatal. It is more deadly if you are exposed to asbestos and smoke tobacco at the same time.
Asbestosis is a lung disease directly linked to asbestos exposure. It is chronic and can lead to respiratory impairment and, in extreme cases, lung cancer. When there is the continuous inhaling of asbestos fibers without protective measures, getting asbestosis becomes easier. Early medical intervention helps in managing the disease.
Asbestos is a mineral necessary in different aspects of the construction, assembling, and building industry due to its attractive properties. However, when there is a disturbance, its fibers and dust manifest their carcinogenic effects, making it dangerous to your health. Mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis are medically proven diseases associated with asbestos. It is crucial to find mitigation and safety measures to protect people, especially those with a high risk of exposure, such as construction workers.
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