Asbestos is a mineral found throughout the United States that is heavily used in industries across the country. The benefit of this mineral is that it is resistant to heat, so it’s a good substance to use in insulation, tile and other products.
The problem with asbestos is that it has small fibers that can break off and be inhaled into the lungs. When these fibers are ingested or inhaled, they may stick in the body, cause scarring and lead to serious health issues.
There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure
What may surprise you is that there is no amount of asbestos exposure that is safe for humans. It’s unfortunate, but even a small amount of exposure could lead to illnesses in the future.
Frustratingly, people can be exposed to asbestos at work, at home or in their communities, depending on where they are and what they’re doing. Something as simple as breaking up an old tile floor could expose someone to asbestos in their home, just as someone in a factory could be exposed while working on a product containing asbestos fibers.
What’s the problem with asbestos exposure?
The biggest issue is that asbestos fibers are small and prone to getting trapped in the lungs. Since they’re not coughed out, they can stay in the lungs for many years.
Over time, the damage caused by asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and other serious illnesses. These illnesses, largely a result of inflammation and scarring, usually affect breathing but may impact systems around the body.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen, so it’s important that you take steps to mitigate your exposure if you can. There is, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, evidence to link asbestos to mesothelioma.
No amount of asbestos can be ignored
If you have been exposed to asbestos, remember that no amount of exposure is safe for you. It may take many years before you see the signs of a condition like mesothelioma, but if those signs do arise, you may be able to hold your employer or others responsible for the exposure.