Asbestos is not a single element. Rather it is a combination of six different elements or materials that are found naturally on Earth. For the longest time, asbestos has been used in the construction industry thanks to its heat-resistant, thermal insulation, ease of use, and affordable properties. The fibres that are found in asbestos are not only heat-resistant but do not react with other chemicals as well.
While asbestos as a whole is not dangerous, the corrosion of the material results in the dissipation of tiny asbestos fibres naturally into the air. They are lightweight and thin and can easily become airborne. Inhaling the same through the nostrils and mouth can lead to them settling in the linings of the stomach and the lungs. This is dangerous and can lead to dangerous and life-threatening diseases.
In this resource article, we are going to comprehensively cover the following details about asbestos poisoning-
- What is asbestos poisoning? Signs and symptoms to watch out for
- Industries where asbestos poisoning is more common
- Prevention from asbestos poisoning and exposure
If you are someone that is concerned about your health after being exposed to asbestos, you should find this article and its content useful.
What is Asbestos Poisoning?
There are four major illnesses that you can contract after being exposed to asbestos-
- Pleural Disease
- Lung Cancer
Let us discuss asbestosis to better understand what it is all about. The first thing you should know is that asbestosis is a chronic disease that affects the lungs of human beings. If you have been exposed to asbestos fibres for a long time, you end up inhaling the same, and they get inside the lungs and settle in the linings. Once it settles, it blocks the flow of air to the alveoli.
This is the smallest part of the lung that helps convert oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Over a period, this part of the lungs stiffens up, making contractions difficult. This results in scarring of the tissues of the lungs, and the most obvious symptom of the same is shortness of breath. Asbestosis symptoms range from mild to severe and show up several years after exposure. If you’re experiencing symptoms, you may be eligible for compensation from an Asbestos lawyer.
Doctors have pointed out that if you are someone that smokes, then your symptoms are going to be more pronounced. The simple reason for the same is that the smoke that you inhale after smoking cigarettes ends up irritating the tissues and passageways of the lungs. If you smoke, the asbestos fibres get more entrenched into the tissues making them difficult to dislodge.
Signs and Symptoms of Asbestos Poisoning you should look for
Asbestos poisoning symptoms do not appear instantly. If you have been exposed to asbestos for a long time, you will slowly start getting the symptoms. For the convenience of our readers, we have listed down the major signs and symptoms that you will experience after being exposed to asbestos-
- Lingering cough that keeps getting worse after time passes
- Sudden pain and tightness around your chest (lungs area and sternum)
- Issues and trouble with swallowing food naturally or drinking water
- Sudden weight loss complemented by loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath even when you are just sitting down
- Cracking sound in the lungs when you take a breath
- Coughing up blood at periodic intervals
- Feeling tired all the time, even after getting up in the morning
- Being anemic and not having enough iron in your blood
- Increase in the size of your neck and face (unnatural swelling)
It should be pointed out that all the symptoms mentioned above are not exclusive to just asbestos poisoning. This is why if you have been exposed to asbestos, you should get yourself checked by a medical professional and get the necessary tests done. Once you have the results, you can be certain and start your treatment.
Workers in which Industries are Prone to Asbestos Poisoning?
Workers or employees that have been exposed to asbestos fibres and dust over sustained periods are more likely to experience the symptoms that we have listed above. Once the scarring starts, the lungs become stiff and are unable to carry out the contraction. This can eventually lead to death if left untreated.
According to experts, awareness of the dangers of asbestos started only in the 1980s. The workers that worked in the asbestos industries in the 1970s were at the highest risk of getting diseases. Let us now explore some of the industries and workers that had a higher chance of getting affected because of asbestos exposure:
- Miners that were mining asbestos naturally from the ground
- Operators that worked on boilers
- Construction workers for buildings- both commercial and residential
- Automobile mechanics and aircraft maintenance workers
- Workers that operated and did technical maintenance on the railroads
- Shipyard workers, as well as those that worked in the ship-breaking industries
- Electricians that did work on casings and installations in buildings
- Workers employed in the refineries and mills (food and textile)
- Workers directly involved in asbestos removal and treatment
A lot of workers that worked directly in the industries also went home and affected their family members. Since they carried the fibres on their work clothes, second-hand exposure to asbestos became a well-established condition.
Prevention from Asbestos Exposure
The best way to not get affected by asbestos is to maintain a safe distance from it. If your home has been constructed before the 1980s, there is a strong chance that it contains asbestos in the walls, flooring, roofs, and other insulation parts of your house.
You need to get in touch with professionals that are experienced in handling asbestos and removing it in a safe manner. You need to understand that if asbestos is present and is not being disturbed, the fibres are not released into the air.
However, over time, rainwater, hail, windy situations, and even human error end up disturbing the asbestos leading to the release of fibres into the air. This is why it is best that you do not disturb the surface of asbestos at any cost.
The Bottom Line
If you have been exposed to asbestos at any point in your life, you need to get yourself checked by a doctor immediately. If it’s not too late, you might be able to reverse the dangers of the same. You need to be careful when dealing with asbestos. If you require any other clarifications, please let us know in the comments section below. We would be more than happy to help clear your doubts about asbestos poisoning.