What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance made of fibres that are resistant to heat, corrosion and electricity- properties which make it extremely useful is numerous applications. Hence, it is used in many items of day-to-day use. However, asbestos exposure can cause serious health complications if it is exposed for too long.
Asbestos can remain latent in the body for very long and show effects towards old age. The fibres can become airborne and be inhaled easily. Occupations such as military service, mining, heavy industry and construction are some of the biggest causes of occupational exposure to asbestos.
How does asbestos affect your health?
Asbestos accumulation in the body is an irreversible procedure and as such, no amount of asbestos is safe for accumulation. Asbestos exposure poses serious risks to the body, such as:
- Mesothelioma: this is almost exclusively caused by overexposure to asbestos fibres. This is a cancer of the membrane of the lungs (pleural), heart (pericardial) and chest cavity, or the abdominal cavity (peritoneal), or any membrane surrounding an organ. This condition is usually fatal.
- Asbestosis: this is a chronic lung ailment caused by severe accumulation of asbestos in the body. This leads to tissue formation in the lungs, known as pulmonary fibrosis. This can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, and reduced lung function. It is difficult to diagnose this condition since it takes years to show symptoms.
- Pleural effects: other than causing cancer, asbestos can make you sick by forming numerous abnormalities in the chest cavity. These may include pleural plaques, pleural effusion, thickening and fibrosis of the pleura and rounded atelectasis. Almost all workers exposed to asbestos experience these.
- Immune system effects: numerous studies have shown that overexposure to asbestos can seriously damage the immune system. People exposed to asbestos have significantly lower immune functions, which can make the person susceptible to other diseases.
- Retroperitoneal fibrosis: this is a disease characterized by the formation of a fibrous mass behind the membrane of the chest cavity, which contributes to significant kidney damage. Although this has not been clinically established yet, asbestos poisoning is believed to be a prime cause.
- Lung cancer: asbestos exposure does not directly cause lung cancer, but can seriously contribute to lowering the body’s propensity to fight the tumour. Habits such as smoking and exposure to asbestos can significantly increase the risks of developing lung cancer.
If someone is habitually exposed to asbestos for occupational reasons, it is not really possible to reduce the exposure all at once. Asbestos accumulation cannot be reversed once it starts happening, but steps can be taken to ensure that they don’t reach a point where the condition becomes fatal. This can be achieved through undergoing regular tests and being properly vaccinated against all diseases (especially seasonal ones).
It is advised to use respirators with HEPA filters and proper protective equipment if your job entails you to be exposed to asbestos.
AMC Environmental Corporation has been one of the best asbestos removal specialists in the industry with over 15 years of experience. We offer service all over Canada and work with the best experts and industrialists. Visit our website to request a free estimate on your project.