What is Asbestos?

Most people who are born 40 years ago may define asbestos as a substance that is man-made and dangerous to the public health. This is slightly untrue because asbestos is not made by factories but it can definitely cause serious illnesses to human beings.

It is present in the environment at low levels and found in almost all places around the world. Due to health hazard reasons, many countries have prohibited mining of asbestos; though other countries like Russia and Canada still do.

Asbestos is a group of fibrous minerals with long and thin fibers. Its heat resistant and inextinguishable properties made it suitable material for insulation and other industrial products. 2 kinds of asbestos are serpentine variety (asbestos with curly fibers like chrysotile) and amphibole variety (asbestos with straight and needle-like fibers such as: amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite). Chrysolite is the only asbestos type mined widely and large scale.

How Does Asbestos Cause Problems to Health?

Asbestos dust and fibers are produced during the manufacturing process and can be inhaled and/or swallowed by the people in the vicinity. Because these microscopic fibers cannot be exhaled, a build-up inside the lungs and other internal organs can occur that may lead to development of serious conditions like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Other types of cancers linked to asbestos exposure are found in the throat, esophagus, intestines, kidneys, gallbladder, intestines, and colon.

Risk of Exposure to Asbestos

Because asbestos is resistant to heat, electrical, and chemical; it is widely used to manufacture many products such as: cement, textile, electric oven and hotplate, insulation, caulk, brake linings, and many more.

Occupations that expose individuals to asbestos include: textiles production, firefighting, ship building, construction and building work, dry walling, demolition work, and auto mechanics that involves brake repair.

Symptoms of Diseases Caused by Asbestos

It is often many decades after that asbestos-related diseases show symptoms. People who suffer from breathing difficulties, chronic coughing, hoarseness of voice, chest pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, and chronic fatigue”especially those with history of exposure to asbestos”must seek medical advice at once.

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