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Asbestos Exposure

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Asbestos exposure is a threat to human health that can lead to serious illnesses such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma cancer. Exposures are most common in the workplace but can occur at home, in public buildings or in the military. Many American workers from various industries were exposed to asbestos during their work. As a result, they are now at risk of developing a mesothelioma. In this section, you will learn more about the history of asbestos use, the products that contain asbestos, and the companies that made asbestos.

Find out which occupations and occupations have a higher asbestos risk. Find out which sites in the US were contaminated with asbestos-containing materials and which risks are associated with using asbestos. The human health is effects from long-term unsafe asbestos exposure are well documented. The asbestos fibres are easily inhaled and carried into the lower regions of the lung where they can cause fibrotic lung disease (asbestosis) and changes in the lining of the chest cavity (pleura). The diseases can lead to reduced respiratory function and death. Long-term inhalation of asbestos fibers increases the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Asbestos Exposure

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the name of six minerals that naturally occur in the environment as fiber bundles, which can be separated into thin, durable threads for commercial and industrial applications. These asbestos fibers are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos exposure is widely used in many industries. Other asbestos-like minerals, including erionite, are found in the natural environment. Asbest gilt seit langem als Wundermaterial und verfügt über hervorragende feuer- und hitzebeständige Eigenschaften. Dieses natürlich vorkommende Mineral, das heute als Karzinogen für den Menschen bekannt ist, hat eine Geschichte, die bis ins antike Griechenland zurückreicht. Asbest wurde bereits im römischen Reich als Baumaterial verwendet. Asbest war ein Bestandteil des Gewebes, das in Kleidung und einem anderen Textilien verwendet wird.

Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally as fiber bundles. These fibers are found in soils and rocks in many parts of the world. They mainly consist of silicon and oxygen, but also contain other elements. There are two main types of asbestos:

Chrysotile

Asbestos exposure, also known as white asbestos, is the most common type of asbestos in industrial applications. Viewed under the microscope, chrysotile asbestos fibers spiral around themselves, which is why this form of asbestos is also called serpentine or curly asbestos.

Amphibole

Asbestos exposure fibers are straight and needle-like. There are the several types of amphibole fibers, including amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite.
Asbestos fibers can be useful because they are strong, heat resistant and resistant to many chemicals and do not conduct electricity. Therefore, asbestos has been used as an insulating material since antiquity. Since the Industrial Revolution, asbestos has been used to insulate factories, schools, homes, and ships, and to produce brake and clutch parts for cars, roof shingles, floor and ceiling tiles, cement, textiles, and hundreds of other products.

In the first half of the 20th century, growing evidence showed that inhaling asbestos causes scarring in the lungs. Exposure to asbestos dust at the workplace was not controlled at this time. Beginning in England in the 1930s, steps were taken to protect workers in the asbestos industry by installing ventilation and extraction systems. However, during the tremendous efforts of shipbuilding during the Second World War, a large number of workers were exposed to heavy asbestos.

How is asbestos used?

Asbestos was mined and used commercially in North America since the late 19th century. During the Second World War its use increased strongly (3, 4). Since then, asbestos exposure has been used in many industries. For example, the construction industry has used this to reinforce cement and plastics as well as for insulation, roofing, fire protection and sound absorption. The shipbuilding industry has used asbestos to insulate boilers, steam pipelines and hot water pipes. The automotive industry uses asbestos in vehicle brake shoes and clutch linings. Asbestos was also used for ceiling and floor tiles. Paints, coatings and adhesives; and plastics.

The late 1970s, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of asbestos in wall patching compounds and gas chimneys as the asbestos fibers in these products could be released into the environment during use. In addition, manufacturers of electric hairdryers voluntarily renounced asbestos in 1979. In 1989, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all new asbestos uses; However, uses developed before 1989 are still allowed. The EPA has also adopted regulations requiring school systems to inspect buildings for the presence of damaged asbestos and to eliminate or reduce asbestos exposure to occupants by removing or trapping asbestos (2).

As asbestos-related cancers were better recognized in the second half of the 20th century, measures to reduce exposure were adopted, including the establishment of exposure standards and laws prohibiting the use of asbestos in building materials. Since the mid-1970s, the import and use of asbestos in the US has dramatically declined and alternative insulation materials have been developed. As a result, exposure to asbestos has dropped dramatically. However, it is still used in some products and it is still possible to be exposed to asbestos in older buildings, water pipes and other environments. The use of asbestos has been banned in the European Union since 2005, although the ban did not require the removal of existing asbestos. However, in some countries, asbestos consumption remains high.

Types of Asbestos Exposure

Military Exposure

Asbestos has been used for many years in all areas of the military. Navy veterans were exposed to high levels of asbestos when traveling on ships (carriers, destroyers, submarines, battleships, warships, etc.) in the naval fleet and in shipyards across the country. Veterans of the Army were exposed to asbestos in military installations and work on military vehicles. The air Force veterans were exposed while working with military aircraft. Marine Corps veterans aboard Navy ships were exposed to asbestos. All veterans exposed to asbestos are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma.

Commercial and Industrial Exposure

Many workers and maintenance companies in industrial and commercial workplaces were exposed to dangerous asbestos hazards during their work. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and the leading cause of mesothelioma cancer. Types of workplaces exposed to asbestos include oil refineries, power plants, steel mills, and chemical plants, to name but a few. They all have high-temperature environments where the use of fire and heat resistant materials was required, whether in the construction of equipment or machines or in the protective clothing workers had to wear in certain areas (eg, fireproof gloves) and aprons ). Although the use of asbestos is banned in the United States, many of the existing industrial and commercial structures still contain some asbestos. It is important that appropriate safety precautions be taken to avoid harmful effects and reduce the risk of developing a mesothelioma.

Commercial Product Exposure

Do-it-yourselfers and do-it-yourselfers, as well as those involved in the construction industry, may have been exposed to asbestos while working on popular construction and construction products. Many of these products were made with asbestos in the late 1970s, as the projects they were to use had to be heat and fire resistant. These included insulation, roofing material, siding, grout, ceiling tiles, flooring and much more. When one of these products was cut, sawn, sawn or ground, asbestos fibers were released into the air. In the majority of cases, those working with the products did not use adequate safety precautions as asbestos companies provided information about the health hazards of asbestos for many years. As a result, construction workers and home improvement workers today are at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.

Second Hand Exposure

The direct asbestos exposure at the workplace not only affected American workers. Their relatives also had the risk of developing asbestos asbestos through second-hand asbestos. This type of exposure occurred when workers brought home asbestos fibers on hair, clothes or shoes at the end of the day. Those who were responsible for washing their workwear on a daily basis were the most frequently affected, but even young children who spent time with their parents before they had the opportunity to 'cleanse' from work were unknowingly at risk. Asbestos to develop disease

Talc Exposure

The talc is a naturally occurring silicate mineral that is most commonly used in cosmetics and toiletries. Talc mineral itself is considered safe, but talc deposits are often found near and near asbestos deposits. As a result, some talcum deposits are contaminated with asbestos fibers, resulting in talc miners being unknowingly exposed to asbestos. While talc miners have the highest risk of exposure to asbestos, some consumer goods (baby powder and more recently art supplies for children) have been found to contain asbestos and to expose regular consumers, especially women, to asbestos. Today, products that use talc are tested for asbestos, which has not always been the case. Due to the long latency of mesothelioma, miners and consumers are diagnosed with mesothelioma decades later due to their work and the use of asbestos-containing talc products.

Unions Protect Workers from Asbestos Exposure

In the United States and around the world, there are hundreds of workers and unions to protect individuals working in countless industries, from steel workers to plumbers to electricians. Trade unions have long played a significant role in protecting workers' exposure to asbestos at work. Unions have organized witnesses for trials, helped widows and children financially with mesothelioma diets, and sued for inadequate trust funds proposed by major corporations to compensate for asbestos victims.

Compensation for Workers Exposed to Asbestos

If you have health problems related to exposure to asbestos, you may be eligible for compensation. Each state has its own time limits, known as prescription periods, which allow victims of asbestos exposures to sue.
Do not wait until it's too late to protect your rights! Request a free evaluation now if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness.

What are the health hazards of exposure to asbestos?

People may be exposed to asbestos at work, in their communities or at home. When asbestos-containing products are disturbed, tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air. When inhaled asbestos fibers, they can be trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time. Over time, these fibers may accumulate and cause scars and inflammation that may interfere with breathing and cause serious health problems (6).

Asbestos has been classified by the US Department of Health (HHS), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a known human carcinogen (a carcinogenic substance). 2, 3, 7, 8). According to the IARC, there is sufficient evidence that asbestos causes mesothelioma (a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes lining the chest and abdomen) and cancers of the lung, larynx and ovary (8). Although rare, mesothelioma is the most common type of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. There is limited evidence that exposure to asbestos is associated with an increased risk of gastric, pharyngeal and colorectal cancers (8).
Asbestos exposure may also increase the risk of asbestosis (an inflammatory lung disease that can cause respiratory distress, coughing and permanent lung damage) and other non-malignant lung and pleural diseases, including pleural plaques (changes in the lung membrane). Pleural thickening and benign pleural effusions (abnormal accumulations of fluid between the thin tissue layers of the lungs and the wall of the chest cavity). Although pleural plaques are not precursors to lung cancer, results suggest that individuals with asbestos-related pleural disease may be at increased risk for lung cancer (2, 9).

Who is at risk for an asbestos-related disease?

Everyone is exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives. There are only small amounts of asbestos in the air, water and soil. However, most people do not get sick from their exposure. People who get asbestos are usually those who are regularly affected, mostly in a job where they work directly with the material or through significant environmental contact.

Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos. Health hazards associated with asbestos fibers are known to workers in shipbuilding, asbestos mining and milling, the manufacture of asbestos and other asbestos products, insulation work in the construction and construction industries, and a variety of other occupations. Demolition workers, drywall, asbestos paramedics, firefighters and car workers may also be exposed to asbestos fibers. Cancer risk assessment studies by car mechanics exposed to asbestos through brake repair are limited, but the overall picture suggests that there is no safe exposure to asbestos (3, 8). Due to government regulations and improved work practices, today's workers (those who were previously unexposed) are likely to be at lower risk than in the past.
asbestos exposure
People involved in rescue, salvage and rehabilitation at the World Trade Center (WTC) New York City site on September 11, 2001, are another group at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease. Since asbestos was used to build the North Tower of the WTC, hundreds of tons of asbestos were released into the atmosphere during the attack. The most vulnerable are firefighters, police, paramedics, construction workers and volunteers working in the rubble of Ground Zero. Other vulnerable people include residents who are in close proximity to the WTC towers and those who visited nearby schools. These individuals must be monitored to determine the long-term health consequences of their exposure (10). However, it is important to note that any symptoms that occur in these individuals may be related to exposure to ingredients other than asbestos.

Although it is clear that the health risks of asbestos exposure increase with increased exposure and prolonged exposure time, investigators have identified asbestos-related diseases in individuals with only short-term exposure. In general, those suffering from asbestos-related diseases show no signs of disease for a long time after exposure. It may take 10 to 40 years or more for asbestos-related symptoms to appear (2).
There is evidence that family members of workers who are severely exposed to asbestos are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma (11). It is believed that this risk is due to the exposure of asbestos fibers that are brought into the home of workers' shoes, clothing, skin and hair. To reduce these risks, federal law regulates workplace practices to limit the possibility of asbestos use in this way. Some employees may need to shower and change clothes before leaving work, keeping their street clothes in a separate area of the workplace, or washing their work clothes at home separately from the other clothes (2).

How does smoking affect risk?

Many of studies have shown that the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure is particularly dangerous. Smokers who are also exposed to asbestos are at risk of developing lung cancer, which is higher than the individual risk of asbestos and smoking taken together (3, 6). There is evidence that quitting smoking reduces the risk of lung cancer among asbestos-exposed workers (4). Smoking in combination with asbestos exposure does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma (9). People who have been exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives or suspect that they may have been exposed to asbestos should not smoke.

Does asbestos cause cancer?

Researchers use two main types of studies to find out if a substance causes cancer.
Studies in people:One type of study examines cancer rates in different groups of people. Such a study could compare the cancer rate in a substance-exposed group with the cancer rate in a group that did not come into contact with that substance or the cancer rate in the general population. However, sometimes it is difficult to know what the results of these studies mean, as many other factors can influence the results.

Lab studies:In the laboratory studies, animals are exposed to a substance (often in very high doses) to see if it causes tumors or other health problems. The researchers could also expose normal cells in a laboratory bowl to the substance to see if it causes the kind of changes that are seen in cancer cells. It is not always clear that the results of this type of study apply to humans, but laboratory studies are a good way to find out if a substance is causing cancer.

In most cases, both types of studies do not provide enough evidence for themselves. Therefore, researchers usually study both human studies and laboratory testing to find out if something is causing cancer. Studies from humans and laboratory animals have shown that asbestos can increase the risk of some cancers.
When inhaled in the air, asbestos fibers can adhere to mucus in the throat, trachea (windpipe) or bronchi (large lung breath tubes) and can be removed by coughing or swallowing. However, some fibers reach the ends of the small airways in the lung or invade the outer lining of the lung and chest wall (pleura). These fibers can irritate the cells in the lungs or pleura and eventually cause lung cancer or mesothelioma.

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Mesothelioma Master: Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure is a danger to human health that can lead to serious diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma cancer.
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