Were You Exposed To Asbestos At Work?
Why does it matter if you were exposed to asbestos? The quick answer to this is that asbestos is known to cause mesothelioma, a type of cancer that damages the linings of your internal organs.
A Brief History of Asbestos
Asbestos is a kind of mineral that is known to be heat-resistant. It is also fire-resistant. Because of these properties, it became popular during the Industrial Revolution when engines and coatings were needed to protect important mechanical parts. However, asbestos was already being used by the Romans during the rise of the Roman Empire. It was first used as part of the fabrics being worn by the Romans.
When the Industrial Revolution came, more properties of asbestos were discovered and this drove its demand higher. Almost all factories used asbestos and a lot of the laborers were getting exposed to it. Just imagine all the people who were in chemical plants, ships, car manufacturing companies, and construction sites. Their asbestos exposure has increased their chances of getting cancer.
The people who had mesothelioma asbestos cancer would have been spared if only the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma were discovered earlier. It was only during the latter part of the 20th century that doctors and scientists realized the harmful effects of asbestos exposure.
Harmful Effects of Asbestos
The most common danger when you are exposed to asbestos is the risk of getting mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is the cancer of the linings of internal organs. The organs that can be affected are the lungs, abdomen, and the heart.
The moment you inhale asbestos, its fibers tend to stay in the organs mentioned above causing inflammation. Once inflammation occurs, the probability of getting a tumor follows suit. When a tumor starts to grow, a lot of complications can arise and this will be harder to cure in the long run.
Another known danger of asbestos exposure is damage done to your DNA. When you are exposed to this carcinogen, the natural process of cell division gets damaged, meaning there can be abnormal cells that will be produced.
Kinds of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure is not limited to factories. Because this disease has no known cure, it will definitely be helpful if you knew the asbestos-prone areas so you can avoid them. If you are already being exposed, at least you can start protecting your rights.
The most common asbestos exposure is in factories. Asbestos is a component in making car parts especially those that are exposed to high temperatures. Any industry that has a high heat process almost always has asbestos-prone areas. Take, for example, chemical plants. Because chemicals are highly flammable, engineers make sure that the items and the structures around them can withstand high heat.
Because of the growing concern about mesothelioma and asbestos’ harmful effects, the United States government has banned the use of asbestos in any product or component.
Asbestos can also be found in military vehicles like tanks, ships, and planes. Equipment and weapons also contain asbestos which makes the military very prone to mesothelioma. Because this cancer is not always identified as such, military men who are already experiencing mesothelioma might be mistaken for having other diseases. Even if military men retire, it will not take away the chance of having mesothelioma because of high exposure to the carcinogen.
Just because there isn’t direct contact with asbestos doesn’t mean that others are safe. Indirect exposure to asbestos can occur when you have a family member or a friend who has been exposed to asbestos comes near you. The asbestos fibers that have stayed in their hair, clothes, or things can easily be transferred to you and once you inhale them, you could be a candidate for mesothelioma. You become a second-hand victim when you are the one who does their laundry or if you have close contact with people who are always exposed to asbestos.
As of today, mesothelioma has no cure and so it is important that you are aware of the place where it is abundant. Avoiding asbestos-heavy places and work environments can save you from experiencing inflammation in the linings of your internal organs. It will also help your loved ones indirectly because their second-hand exposure to asbestos lessens.