Asbestos Warning Article by

The Serious Illnesses Associated With Asbestos Exposure

Before the effects of a harmful substance have been realized and subsequently researched,  there is usually a population that has been affected. One example of a substance that is severely dangerous to people is asbestos.  Asbestos is a mineral that has been found to have devastating effects, but is still being mined today although millions have already died from asbestos-related diseases.

What is particularly tragic about asbestos is that its devastating effects were avoidable.  As early as the 1930’s, the asbestos industry knew that this mineral was toxic to humans.  However, the industry decided to hide what they knew and not protect its workers or consumers of its asbestos containing products.  As a result, there have been tens of thousands of cases of asbestos related diseases over the last 80 years.


Today, asbestos is banned in over 50 countries in the world, including the U.K., but not all nations have prohibited it. Many of the nations that still mine the mineral are large nations which tend to sell it in significantly large amounts. For countries that have banned the mineral, like the U.K., they must still deal with the consequences of prior and widespread use in construction. For example, many old buildings, pipes, and cement may still be exposing citizens to asbestos because of the widespread use throughout the 20th century. Not everyone is aware of the toxic and harmful impact that asbestos exposure can have on the body, so we will explore asbestos-related diseases.


Asbestos Related Lung Diseases


Mesothelioma - A fatal cancer, which very few survive, that is almost universally caused by exposure to asbestos. The internal organs, including the lungs, have what is called mesothelium which is a layer of lubricating tissue that can be found in the chest, abdomen, and other areas of the body.  Asbestos can get trapped in the mesothelium and after years and often decades the asbestos can create cancerous tumors.  This cancer is called mesothelioma. This cancer can be located near the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) or abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma).


Asbestosis - There are six different types of asbestos fibers, one of them is called chrysotile. Exposure to this specific asbestos fiber is directly connected with asbestosis. When chrysotile fibers enter the lungs it ends up scaring the tissues creating symptoms like a severe cough, chest pain, clubbed fingers, and difficulty breathing. It can takes months and years before the scarring takes place. This disease can be fatal, although asbestosis victims may live many years after being diagnosed with asbestosis.


Lung Cancer - Asbestos exposure can also lead to lung cancer. Less than 20% of lung cancer patients get diagnosed with small cell lung cancer; it’s a very dangerous and fast-moving cancer that develops in the middle of the lungs near the bronchi. The other 80% will get diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer which is a slower cancer that can develop in the air pipe or on the either side of the lungs. Either cancer may be related to asbestos exposure especially in non-smokers.


Asbestos Needs to Be Completely Removed

The dangers of asbestos exposure have been clearly seen and experienced by too many people throughout the world. Asbestos mining needs to be stopped and companies should be banned from using it in any sort of manufacturing. Exposure, particularly long term exposure can have devastating health effects and no human should be diagnosed with one of these diseases in the future. Living in the U.K., attention should be given to the asbestos that exists in old buildings and caution should be used to prevent any exposure. Through diligence and action, these asbestos related diseases can become a thing of the past. 

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British Lung Foundation


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