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What Happens When You Breathe In Asbestos

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  • 16-11-2022
What Happens When You Breathe In Asbestos

Signs of Asbestos Exposure Affecting the Lungs

The early signs of asbestos exposure are the symptoms that are associated with related asbestos diseases. There are actually no signs of simple exposure to asbestos that would be possible to identify for an asbestos disease begins to develop. Signs that you have been exposed to asbestos usually begin with the lungs. This is because asbestos exposure mainly leads to lung-based diseases. 

Although, asbestos is also capable of causing diseases in many other different parts of the body. The signs of those diseases will usually affect the areas such as the colon, stomach, and throat. In the majority of instances, having a routine CT scan or x-ray can identify the presence of pleural plaques.

This is a sign that there has been enough exposure to the point that it is possible for asbestos-related diseases to form. Pleural plaques are not a sign that a person needs to be especially careful because they will rarely actually lead to symptoms. Plaques will begin to develop ten to thirty years after the exposure has taken place.

More indications include:


 Pleural thickening

 Pleural plaques

 Tightness in chest

 Pleural effusion

 Chest Pain

 Complications with respiratory systems

 Sound of crackling when trying to breathe

 Shortness of breath

 Wheezing or dry coughing

Why is asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance that was originally found in soil and rocks. It was found that the material has fantastic fibre durability and excellent resistance to heat which allowed asbestos to be used in many different ways, mainly in construction.

Some common uses for asbestos were for it to be used in construction materials, as well as a non-flammable material.

Unfortunately, being exposed to asbestos can lead to highly adverse effects on your well-being and health. Asbestos exposure can massively boost the chance of developing lung cancer.

The cancer of the mesothelial tissue, also known as mesothelioma, can begin to develop after a person has been exposed to asbestos.

The issue is it can take many, many years before the symptoms related to this exposure will appear.

People who work with asbestos are at a huge risk of developing mesothelioma themselves. When you are working in a space where there is a chance of asbestos exposure, it is necessary for a face mask to be worn. The lung disease known as asbestosis is not cancerous, but it is a chronic illness that is linked to a person being exposed to asbestos.

By inhaling asbestos' microscopic dust and fibres, what you are actually doing is scaring the tissue in your lungs. Years and years can pass before a person can even realise that they have asbestosis, and the condition is completely irreversible. The more that you have been exposed to asbestos, the worst the impact of the disease becomes.

What Is Asbestos Awareness?

Signs of Asbestos Exposure Affecting Other Parts of the Body


 Clubbed Fingers

 Difficulty with swallowing

 General loss of appetite


 Loss of weight

 Abdominal swelling and distention

 Pelvic or abdominal pain

 Bowel obstructions

Am I at risk of Asbestosis?

Workers that are involved in the refurbishment process, maintenance, and other similar trades can be at high risk of exposure due to the work that they do. 

Maintenance Staff such as caretakers

Engineers in Telecommunication

Building Surveyors, Architects, and other similar professions


Ventilation Engineers

Heating Engineers

Demolition Workers

Joiners and Carpenters


Cable layers

Burglar and Fire Alarm Installers

CCTV Installers


Gas fitters

Data and Computer Engineers

Roofing Contractors




Workers in Construction

Of course, this list is not comprehensive and does not include every occupation that is at risk of being exposed to asbestos.

 When am I most at risk?

A person is most at risk of asbestos exposure when:

  • The building you're doing work on was built before the year 2000
  • You are working on a site that is unfamiliar
  • Asbestos-containing materials were not identified before the work on the property was started
  • Asbestos-containing materials were identified, but this information was told to the people who are in charge of the work that is being performed.
  • You have not done a risk assessment.
  • You do not know how to work safely with asbestos or recognise asbestos
  • You have not been through the appropriate amount of training, information, and training in dealing with asbestos
  • You know how to work safely with asbestos, but you have chosen to put yourself at risk by not going through the proper precautions. This may be as a tactic to save time or simply because everyone else on the team was also not following procedures

Remember the following:

It is impossible to see or smell asbestos fibres that float and hang in the air.

The effects of asbestos exposure take many years to appear

People who smoke and have been exposed to asbestos are at a much greater risk

Asbestos is only a danger when the fibres become airborne and then breathed in

 Are you looking for asbestos training in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire? For any extra information regarding asbestos training, you can follow the links below to find out more: