What Is Asbestosis Exactly?

Asbestosis is a very serious lung disease, and can be fatal. The condition is characterized by scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos fibers. The scarring can range from mild to severe, and may result in complications such as shortness of breath, a persistent cough, weight loss, clubbing of fingers, and chest pain. Having asbestosis also puts an individual at an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Sadly, there is no treatment to reverse the effects of asbestos once the fibers have caused scarring of the lungs and asbestosis. While the disease can be slowed down in terms of progression, and symptoms can be treated, there is no cure. Types of treatment that a patient may pursue range from the use of pain medications to lung transplant surgery to oxygen therapy. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are hundreds of asbestosis-related deaths every year.

 

Why is Exposure to Asbestos Bad?

“The most common way for asbestos fibers to enter the body is through breathing. In fact, asbestos containing material is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or fibers into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested. Many of the fibers will become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat where they can then be removed, but some may pass deep into the lungs, or, if swallowed, into the digestive tract. Once they are trapped in the body, the fibers can cause health problems. Asbestos is most hazardous when it is friable. The term “friable” means that the asbestos is easily crumbled by hand, releasing fibers into the air. Sprayed on asbestos insulation is highly friable. Asbestos floor tile is not” (Oregon State University).

 

Are There Different Types of Asbestos?

According to the American Cancer Society, asbestos is still a major concern in regards to the health risks that come from long time exposure to the materials. According to their website- Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally as bundles of fibers. These fibers are found in soil and rocks in many parts of the world. They are made mainly of silicon and oxygen, but they also contain other elements. There are 2 main types of asbestos:

  • Chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, is the most common type of asbestos in industrial applications. When looked at under the microscope, chrysotile asbestos fibers wrap around themselves in a spiral, which is why this form of asbestos is also called serpentine or curly asbestos.
  • Amphibole asbestos fibers are straight and needle-like. There are several types of amphibole fibers, including amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite.

How Does Asbestos Get Into the Air in the First Place?

“Asbestos-containing ceiling tiles, floor tiles, undamaged laboratory cabinet tops, shingles, fire doors, siding shingles, etc. will not release asbestos fibers unless they are disturbed or damaged in some way. If an asbestos ceiling tile is drilled or broken, for example, it may release fibers into the air. If it is left alone and not disturbed, it will not” (OSU).  Our law firm has decade of experience fighting for our clients in a range of personal injury lawsuits related to exposure to asbestos. Many have been connected in some way to asbestos exposure or the development of mesothelioma or other health condition due to their exposure. So, call us today and let us review your case and help you fight for the compensation you deserve!

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