Asbestos: The Microscopic Menace

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What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the most infamous TV lawsuit infomercial topic in our history. Who doesn’t remember the famous line “Have you or a loved one been exposed to asbestos? You may be entitled to financial compensation.” What is this lifeblood of lawyers and lawsuits? Asbestos is a collection of six microscopic crystalline silicate fibers that are superb flame retardants, sound absorbers, and electrical insulators. These fibers are typically found in construction sites, shipbuilding, aircraft manufacturing, and oil refineries. Chrysotile asbestos, which is the most common type of asbestos, is known for its use for insulating and flame retarding World War II and Korean War era Navy ships, it is still used and mined today.

What Are the Dangers of Asbestos Exposure?

Asbestos exposure can be deadly; the microscopic crystals can cause a tremendous amount of damage to the lungs if inhaled. The three most common health issues connected to asbestos exposure are Lung Cancer, Asbestosis, and Mesothelioma. These health effects are often hard to treat and deadly due to prolonged latency periods; Mesothelioma can take anywhere from 10-30 years to manifest. If you suspect your house may be insulated with asbestos, you should hire a removal company to get rid of it, such as for example asbestos removal Sydney.

Lung Cancer is the growth of cancerous cells and/or tumors in the lung tissues. Smoking and exposure to radiation are two of the most common causes of lung cancer, but many people exposed to asbestos have developed lung cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, only about 18% of patients of lung cancer live more than 5 years.

Asbestosis is a degenerative condition in the lungs caused by scar tissue and plaque. The scar tissue is the result of inhaling the small asbestos crystals, which cause cuts and micro abrasions in the delicate tissues, and thus is incurable. Asbestosis is unique to those exposed to asbestos and is usually a harbinger of Mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma, the most well-known of the asbestos exposure conditions, is an aggressive cancer of the mesothelium membranes that protect the vital organs of the chest cavity. Asbestos exposure is the only verified cause of Mesothelioma, which is why the commercials for lawsuits and settlements always mention it in the advertisements. Mesothelioma is lethal; according to the National Cancer Institute, only 9% of patients live 5 or more years.

How Can We Be Safe Around Asbestos?

Businesses who routinely work with or around asbestos are required by law to have an approved asbestos management plan. Everyone working near asbestos should have an emergency kit containing a mask, water bottles, gloves, protective clothing, and trash bags. The mask is used to protect the nose and mouth, and therefore the lungs. Water bottles are used to wet the asbestos, reducing the likelihood it becomes airborne. Gloves and protective clothing are used for safeguarding your personal clothing because asbestos is highly transferable through clothing and shoes. The trash bags are for containing the wet asbestos material for removal and disposal. Asbestos is deadly; always work to minimize the chances of exposure and transference of asbestos to stay safe, healthy, and away from the infomercial lawyers and lawsuits.