Asbestos exposure most commonly happens in the workforce, but also occurs in the military and even in a home. Asbestos exposure can lead to some very dangerous asbestos related diseases. Some of these are asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and pleural plaques. The number one cause of asbestos disease is Occupational Exposure.
When microscopic asbestos fibers are either swallowed or inhaled, they will likely get caught and trapped in the body’s digestive or respiratory tract. Some of the asbestos fibers the body can get rid of, but many of the fibers become permanently stuck. No amount or level of asbestos exposure, or any asbestos for that matter is considered safe. Most asbestos problems rise after long-term or repeated exposure to asbestos.
One thing that makes asbestos even more dangerous is exposure for someone who smokes, this multiplies the hazard and creates an even greater health risk.
The different Cancers that can be caused by asbestos exposure:
- Lung cancer- 4% of all cases of lung cancer are related to asbestos exposure.
- Laryngeal Cancer- The NIH (National Institutes of Health) confirmed that laryngeal cancer can be caused my asbestos in 2006.
- Mesothelioma- Mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen or lungs, it is an incurable and rare type of cancer.
- Ovarian Cancer- In 2012 It was confirmed that asbestos does cause laryngeal cancer by the National Institutes of Health.
Other non cancerous conditions that can be caused by asbestos exposure:
- Pleural Effusion: when fluid builds up around the lungs and it causes difficulty in breathing.
- Asbestosis: Scarring and inflammation of the lungs tissue, that prevents the lungs from working properly.
- Pleural plaques: Areas of the lining around the lungs thickening, this sign of asbestos exposure is the most common.
- Pleurisy: Pleurisy (otherwise known as pleuritic pain) is severe inflammation on the pleural lining.
- Atelectasis: This is when the lungs underinflate due to scarring and inflammation and the pleural lining folding in on itself.
- Diffuse Pleural Thickening:Severe scaping that causes the pleural linings of the lungs to thicken, this can cause breathing issues and chest pain.
I can take anywhere from ten to seventy years after the first and initial asbestos exposure for an asbestos related disease to develop and for it to be able to be diagnosed. The cancerous diseases from asbestos exposure usually take from about twenty to fifty years to develop.
Some of the symptoms from a disease related to asbestos exposure are chest pain, difficult breathings, and a range of other different cancer symptoms. It is estimated by the EWG Action Fund (The Environmental Working Group Action Fund) that diseases from asbestos exposure kill about 12,000-15,000 American people every year. More than 1,000 of these deaths are from asbestosis and a little less than that are deaths from lung cancer.
Almost all cases of Mesothelioma are from asbestos exposure, but not all of them. According to the ACS (the american Cancer society- there are about 3,00 americans who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma every year.