An Overview of Asbestos Health Effects

An Overview of Asbestos Health Effects

Thousands wonder if they subject to asbestos health effects.

People worked and lived around asbestos for many years before they became aware of any asbestos health effects. Prior to the discovery of asbestos health effects the increase in the number of cases of lung cancer and nonmalignant lung disorders was blamed on smoking, allergies and other external sources. There is still one question whose answer we will never know: did those in the world of science and medical technology know the asbestos health effects and withhold the information from the public or were they waiting for more substantial evidence before making a determination? Some people are fortunate to not develop asbestos disease; the only asbestos health effects for some are the development of allergies and other upper respiratory illnesses and conditions.

Asbestos Health Effects – How long to see symptoms?

One of the reasons it took so long for the public to learn about asbestos health effects is because it can take a long time for the diseases to manifest themselves. While we do know now that significant exposure to anything that contains asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and other nonmalignant lung disorders, it took some time before the medical profession recognized it could take as long as 15 years—and even longer—before a person would develop these disorders. In addition, exposure to asbestos can cause more substantial asbestos health effects for smokers than it does for non-smokers that are exposed to asbestos for the same period of time. What this means is the asbestos health effects are far greater for smokers who also work in an environment where asbestos is present.

In addition to lung cancer and other nonmalignant lung conditions, asbestos disease also includes asbestosis, pleural plaques, pleural thickening and pleural effusions. Researchers base this conclusion on observing works suffering from asbestos health effects that have cumulative exposures that range from five to 1,200 fiber-year mL. In layman’s terms, this means those workers would have suffered from 40 years of exposure to 0.125- 30 fiber/mL in their work environment. Both animal and mechanistic studies on asbestos health effects support this conclusion.

Asbestos Health Effects – What is mesothelioma?

One of the major asbestos health effects is that of mesothelioma. There is often as long as 30 years from the time a person begins breathing asbestos until the time that person is diagnosed with this asbestos disease. There are also cases of mesotheliomas occurring in people who are not exposed to any asbestos health effects at work but live close to asbestos mines. Previously unknown dangers have exposed many people to asbestos health effects in much the same way they unknowingly suffered from lead health effects and radon health effects. When we do not find out until many years later about the effects of these products there is little we can do to undo the damage.

Although it has been many years since the public became aware of the toxicological profile for asbestos, they are still suffering from asbestos health effects in one way or another. While not every individual is suffering from asbestos disease, they may be treating a loved one who is or may have lost a loved one. More important: how long before each individual will suffer from asbestos health effects either from work or even from exposure to the asbestos shingles on their homes?

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