Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


The Health Risks of Asbestos Exposure

by Sandy Wallace

Diseases related to asbestos exposure can take several years to exhibit symptoms. It is common to see symptoms startAsbestosis within 5 to 40 years after exposure. Without proper treatment, asbestos exposure can lead to serious health problems including mesothelioma and lung cancer. The problem with asbestos is that it is found in many different products, and people do not realize they have been exposed. The North Tower of the World Trade Center was built with asbestos and when it was destroyed, millions of people in New York City were exposed.

Asbestos is found in many products in the home including insulation and roofing materials. Proper handling of asbestos is essential to prevent yourself from inhaling it, causing problems for your health several years down the road.

The Truth about Asbestos

Since diseases related to asbestos exposure can take upwards of 15 years to show symptoms, it can be confusing for people to determine how they were exposed. The fibers in asbestos materials are inhaled and become stuck in your lungs. When this happens, they will start to cause scarring and inflame the lung tissues, making it difficult to breathe.

People in the high risk category for asbestos exposure are those who smoke, work in the construction industry, or people who live in older homes. If you strip paint off a wall, or you tear out that popcorn ceiling in an older home, there is a huge risk of asbestos exposure. Older homes were often made with materials containing asbestos as people didn’t know of the risks. In the early 1800s and 1900s, many railroad and mine workers died of lung cancer related to asbestos exposure. The longer you are exposed and the more asbestos you inhale, the greater your risk of mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Where It’s Found

Homeowners often deal with asbestos problems if they live in a home built before 2001, or live in a home remodeled before that year. Many of the homes built through the 1980s and 1990s did not contain asbestos materials, but some homes have still been found to contain it in certain areas. The most common areas where asbestos is located is in the insulation, wall paneling, gutters, downspouts, roofing materials, pipe lagging, fuse boxes, and tile floors.

Proper handling of the asbestos materials is essential to protect your health. You must wear protective equipment to prevent your body from coming in contact with asbestos. It is recommended that you hire a professional with the right equipment and clean-up materials to prevent exposure to asbestos. If you are unsure if the products in your home contain asbestos, hire a professional. Never start working on the home if you don’t know your risk as you likely won’t have on protective equipment and a breathing mask to limit your exposure. Proper disposal of asbestos is important as well. You could face serious fines for simply tossing any asbestos your find into the garbage.

Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure

There are many different symptoms related to asbestos exposure, all of them usually have to do with breathing. You may notice yourself dealing with shortness of breath, a persistent cough that contains mucus, loss of appetite, chest tightness or pain, or a crackling sound when breathing. Visit your doctor if you think you may have been exposed. They will do a complete physical exam and will order an MRI and CT scan to see if there are foreign objects in the lungs. They will also do a biopsy if they are concerned about lung cancer. Treatment options vary based on your condition. There is no treatment or cure for asbestos exposure at the current time, only ways to make a patient feel comfortable.

About the Author

Sandy Wallace is a health-conscious aspiring lawyer. If you’re suffering from asbestos related side effects, Sandy recommends seeing if you are eligible for Mesothelioma Claims with Shrader Law.

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