Asbestos was once widely used in the United States of America. This material is not yet banned in the U.S., but its use has drastically reduced over the years. When asbestos is contained, it is generally not harmful. On the other hand, if asbestos is damaged or disturbed, it can pose serious health risks. If asbestos is disturbed, asbestos fibers can become airborne. When asbestos fibers become airborne, people can inhale them and develop serious health conditions.
Who is Most Likely to Get Exposed to Asbestos?
Long ago, asbestos was widely used in several industries across the United States. The people who worked in industries that frequently used asbestos were at the greatest risk of being directly exposed to asbestos. If, for example, a person worked as a shipyard worker, construction worker, demolition worker, carpenter, or painter, they might have been at a greater risk of being directly exposed to asbestos. Even today, people working in certain industries are at great risk of being directly exposed to asbestos.
Apart from people in certain industries, people who lived with those who worked in certain industries were at great risk of being exposed to asbestos. Today, those who live with people who work in certain industries are also at great risk of being exposed to asbestos. This form of exposure is called second-hand exposure. It is a type of asbestos exposure that occurs when a person working with asbestos brings asbestos fibers home.
What are the Signs of Asbestos Exposure?
The signs of asbestos exposure are basically the signs of asbestos-related diseases. A person cannot notice any signs of asbestos exposure until they develop an asbestos-related disease. Often, signs of asbestos exposure involve the lungs. This is because asbestos mainly causes diseases that affect the lungs. However, this dangerous substance also causes diseases that affect other body parts. For example, when asbestos is swallowed, it can cause a condition that affects the stomach.
The following are some of the signs of asbestos-related diseases that affect the lungs;
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Pleural plaques
- Crackling sound when breathing
- Respiratory complications
The following are some signs that a person has developed an asbestos-related disease that affects another part of the body, such as the stomach, colon, or throat;
- Abdominal swelling
- Bowel obstruction
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weakness or fatigue
Asbestos exposure can lead to people developing various diseases. Unfortunately, people who develop asbestos-related illnesses usually do not show any signs of sickness for a long time after exposure. It could take decades after exposure for signs of an asbestos-related disease to appear.
The following are some of the common diseases people develop after getting exposed to asbestos;
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
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