Surprising Facts About Asbestos That You Probably Did Not Know

Many people have heard about asbestos and most people know that it is harmful and can lead to a lung disease known as mesothelioma. Some people may even know that it can be found in many everyday items like insulation, floor tiles, and even in the ground. However, this is often the extent of the general population’s knowledge of this harmful element.  So here are some surprising facts about asbestos that you probably did not know:

  • When someone inhales asbestos fibers, the majority of the fibers are exhaled and never make it into the body. However, when the asbestos fibers are small enough some can penetrate deep into the lung and once there they remain in the tissue of the lungs for a lifetime.
  • As the amount of asbestos fibers in the lungs accumulates the damage to the lung worsens. Asbestos fibers can cause inflammation and scarring, which can affect breathing and gradually lead to the disease known as mesothelioma or in some cases lung cancer.
  • People are more likely to experience asbestos-related disorders when they are exposed to high concentrations of asbestos, are exposed for longer periods of time, or are exposed more often. This is why work-place related exposure is oftn the primary source as it was exposure that was daily and often all day long for years on end in many cases.
  • There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Any exposure has the potential to harm the body and for people with sensitive bodies, compromised immune systems, and pre-existing conditions and health concerns, even a one-time exposure can lead to disease.
  • Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs due to retained asbestosis fibers, as well as malignant diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. The health effects of asbestos exposure may continue to progress even after a person is no longer exposed to asbestos. This is why many people are not diagnosed with mesothelioma until much later in life.
  • Smoking together with exposure to asbestos greatly increases the likelihood of lung cancer. Smoking alone will not cause mesothelioma but it can make you more susceptible to the illness.
  • Fluid around the lungs (known as pleural effusion) and changes in the lining of the lung such as thickening, plaques and calcification may be early indicators of past asbestos exposure. Pleural effusions may be an early symptoms of mesothelioma.
  • Most cases of asbestos exposure happen more than 30 years prior to the diagnosis of some sort of lung disease. In some cases, mesothelioma does not appears for more than 40 or 50 years after the initial exposure occured.
  • Asbestos-related disease has been diagnosed in asbestos workers, family members, veterans and in particular Navy veterans, people who lived near a factory that used asbestos-containing materials and many trades workers who were exposed to asbestos dust. Many older buildings in New York City contain asbestos building materials and the asbestos may be released into the air if the asbestos is disturbed.
  • Many surprising jobs and careers can put people at risk for asbestos exposure- teachers, doctors, librarians, construction workers, landscapers, welders, plumbers, firefighters, demolition crew, and even law officials.
  • Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the U.S. The number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma has been increasing in recent decades.


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