The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

At some point in your life, you will experience asbestos exposure. Small doses of asbestos are floating around in the air, it can also be found in soil and water.

You are only likely to become afflicted by asbestos exposure if you are in contact with it regularly. If you are in an occupation in which you are directly in contact with asbestos that is when you need to be aware of its dangers and how to avoid them.

What is asbestos and why do we use it?

Asbestos is the term labelled to a group of minerals, these minerals consist of bundles of fibres that can be divided into thin, sturdy threads. These fibres are tolerable to fire, heat and chemicals and do not conduct electricity.UKATA Asbestos Awareness in Wigan Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is highly durable. Construction workers used it for years for bolstering plastics and cement, insulating, soundproofing and also fireproofing.

People have also used asbestos in the past for boilers, pipes, ceilings, floors and in older buildings. If you disturb asbestos it can be dangerous.

How may I have been exposed to asbestos?

Asbestos Exposure

There are three types of asbestos exposure: occupational, secondary and environmental exposure.

Occupational exposure is coming into contact with asbestos while working. Those who work in old construction sites, power plant and shipyards or anywhere of a similar environment are all likely to have come in contact with disturbed asbestos.

Secondary exposure spreads through contact with another person. This could occur through clothing or the skin and hair of a person who works with asbestos.

Finally, environmental asbestos exposure is an indirect intake of asbestos. The weather can disturb a natural asbestos deposit which will then pollute the air and soil around it.

Can one-time asbestos exposure be harmful?

If you are exposed asbestos once it still could be harmful. No amount is safe. You should avoid asbestos at all costs is a toxic substance.

The health risks from asbestos exposure

Heavy asbestos exposure puts you harm of a range of diseases.
Asbestosis and the cancers related to exposure come from extensive exposure.

How long do you have to be exposed to asbestos?

Exposure to asbestos may not affect you immediately. It can take up to 10, sometimes even 50 years for it to show any symptoms of the disease.

Asbestos-related lung cancer

Asbestos-related lung cancer is identical in appearance to lung cancer. Fumes caused by smoking look very similar. There is approximately one lung cancer death for every mesothelioma death that occurs.

Symptoms of Asbestos lung cancer include:

  • coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • blood in your mucus.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer which affects the lining around the lower digestive tract and the lining of the lungs. It is particularly related to asbestos exposure and is almost always fatal.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma include:

  • dry cough
  • wheezing
  • fatigue and weakness of the muscles
  • fluid around the lungs
  • respiratory issues
  • pain in the chest or abdomen

Pleural thickening

Pleural thickening is in most cases a problem that occurs from heavy exposure to asbestos. The disease thickens and swells the lung’s lining. As it gets worse the lung begins to squeeze which consequently causes shortness of breath and discomfort.

What is Asbestosis?

Asbestosis is a serious condition that takes its toll over many years. The disease causes scars to the lungs and as a result, it can cause shortness of breath; in serious cases, it can be fatal.

Other symptoms of Asbestosis include:

  • chest pain
  • tight chest
  • persistent dry cough
  • loss of appetite

How can you avoid asbestos exposure?

The best way to avoid asbestos exposure is to know where it is and don’t disturb it. The UKATA Asbestos Awareness is a training course designed to give you the relevant knowledge of the dangers of asbestos. It will also teach you and how to avoid it. With the information gained from the course, you will, therefore, be able to avoid disturbing asbestos. You will also be able to implement the relevant safety procedures if you come into unwanted contact with it.

Hazardous Substances on a Construction Site

Take a look at the various hazards that can be found on a construction site here.

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