How Does Asbestos Cause Disease?

Asbestos related disease is responsible for 30 deaths per day, or 10,000 deaths per year. Asbestos diseases kill thousands more people than other types of cancers that get much more attention from the government and pharmaceutical companies. In addition, all asbestos exposed individuals should discuss smoking cessation efforts with their physicians as smoking can compound the effects of asbestos, increasing the risk of developing an asbestos related disease . Smokers have a significantly higher risk of contracting an asbestos related disease than non-smokers.

As many as 1 in 100 men over the age of 40 in this country will develop a malignant asbestos related disease, as well as an increasing number of women. Therefore, even workers who did not work directly with asbestos, but worked within the “breathing zone ” of its use or removal run the risk of developing an asbestos related disease. However the most prevalent asbestos related disease is benign pleural disease .

It probably goes without saying that the health risks of exposure to loose asbestos fibres have been known in Europe and elsewhere for a considerably long time. Often, a long period of time elapses between exposure to the toxin and diagnosis of a related illness. Sometimes, as in the case of cancer, several decades may pass before the cancer appears.

Asbestos related diseases commonly affect people who worked for long periods of time in professions where asbestos was used, as well as their families (due to secondary asbestos exposure). Potential mesothelioma asbestos exposure can also occur at schools, homes and public buildings if asbestos products have fallen into disrepair or become damaged. Even some unpaved roads may be covered with asbestos–containing serpentine.

A variety of job sites, ranging from shipyards to chemical and power plants to oil refineries, bear a history of asbestos exposure. If you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos and have developed mesothelioma you should seek mesothelioma law firms for more information on how you can receive compensation.

Public awareness about the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases and the dangers of asbestos exposure should be better documented . There should be a re-emphasis on the need to reduce health risks for men and women who may be exposed occupationally to asbestos.

The diseases caused by asbestos do not appear until 15 to 40 years after your first exposure. This is called the “latency period.”  Even if you feel healthy while you are working with asbestos, you may get sick many years later. Asbestos related disease exposure continues to be a major source of disease. However, millions of Americans who have already been exposed to asbestos will continue to suffer from its effects.

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