Dangers of Asbestos

What are the Dangers of Asbestos Exposure?

Healthy Home is here to help you understand the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Exposure to asbestos is dangerous. Asbestos fibers are found in many different places in our society today. Asbestos is most commonly found in building materials, and it is also in gas heaters, hair dryers, and even some clothing. Children’s toys and crayons have been tested and shown the presence of asbestos as recently as 2015.

Asbestos fibers are so hard to destroy that your body cannot break them down once they are in your lungs.  Because of this, asbestos fibers remaining within lung tissue cause three primary asbestos-related diseases.

Primary Diseases Related to Asbestos Exposure

  • Asbestosis

The first health problem or disease associated with asbestos exposure is asbestosis. Asbestosis is a serious and chronic lung disease, but it is not cancerous. Asbestosis may cause heart attacks and can be disabling or fatal.

  • Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the second-leading asbestos-related disease and causes the most asbestos-related deaths. The good news is that most people have minimal risk of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

Listed below are several common symptoms of lung cancer. If you or a loved one experiences these symptoms over a long period of time, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor.

Symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • erratic breathing, and
  • uncontrollable or persistent coughing, with
  • shortness of breath, accompanied by
  • persistent chest pain, and
  • anemia

Many times people will have only a couple of these lung cancer symptoms.

If you smoke and are exposed to asbestos, you have the highest chance of being diagnosed with lung cancer.  Studies show that smokers are 90 times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers with the same asbestos exposure.

  • Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is the third-leading asbestos-related disease. Mesothelioma is most often found in the lining of the lungs, chest, abdomen and heart. It is commonly found in people exposed to large amounts of asbestos dust in the air at their workplace as well as the people who live in the same house as them. Two to three thousand people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.

Other Asbestos-Related Illnesses

The American Cancer Society says that there are other cancers linked to long-term asbestos exposure.  These cancers are not necessarily contracted by inhaling asbestos. Asbestos can be found in both home and commercial building pipes. Because of this, water can carry asbestos debris through the pipes. This debris can then be swallowed by the people working or living in the building.

Cancers linked to ingested asbestos are:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Cancer of the larynx
  • Oral cavity cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Colon and kidney cancers

Need Help With Asbestos Testing?

If you are purchasing a home or planning renovations, we can assist in identifying the potential hazards that may be present in your home or property.

If you or a loved one have potentially been exposed to asbestos in your home, or you are a landlord and suspect that your property is potentially exposing residents to asbestos, schedule your asbestos testing appointment today.