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Who Is In Danger Of Asbestos Exposure

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  • 31-10-2022
Who Is In Danger Of Asbestos Exposure

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos s the name that was given to the six materials that occur naturally in the environment as a collection of fibres that can be split up into extremely thin and durable threads that can be used in all kinds of commercial and industrial applications. The asbestos fibres are fully resistant to fire, heat, and certain chemicals, as well as not conducting electricity.

For exactly these reasons, in a huge amount of industries, asbestos has been used for multiple different purposes. There are some additional asbestos-like materials that can be found in naturally occurring environments; these include erionite. On a chemical level, asbestos minerals are what are known as silicate compounds. This means that they contain within their chemical structure the atoms of silicon and oxygen.Asbestos minerals can be split into two major groups. These are serpentine asbestos and amphibole asbestos.

Firstly, the serpentine asbestos includes the material known as chrysotile. This mineral has very long and curly fibres which can be woven together. Chrysotile asbestos is the form which is most commonly used in the world of commercial applications. The other type of asbestos is the amphibole asbestos.

This type of asbestos contains the minerals of actinolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and amosite. The amphibole asbestos type has long and straight fibres, which could be compared to needles. They are much more brittle than the fibres of the serpentine asbestos, and due to this, their ability to be utilised is far more limited.

Why is asbestos dangerous?

It is important to note that even still, asbestos kills around five thousand workers each year. This is higher than the number of people that are killed in road accidents. Every week around twenty tradespeople will die due to past exposure to asbestos. However, asbestos is far from just a problem in the past. In all likelihood, asbestos can be present today in buildings that were constructed or refurbished before the year 2000.

When materials that contain dangerous asbestos are damaged or disturbed then the asbestos fibres will be released into the air. It is incredibly easy to inhale these small fibres and this is where serious diseases can begin. Of course, the diseases will not affect you immediately. It will usually take quite a while for the diseases to develop but in most cases, once a person begins to show symptoms, it is far too late to do anything. This is exactly why it is so vital that you protect yourself from asbestos now.

Asbestos can lead to the following serious and often fatal diseases:

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that attacks the lining of the lung, also known as pleura, and the lining that surrounds the lower digestive tract. Mesothelioma can almost exclusively only be encountered through exposure to asbestos. Due to this, by the time the mesothelioma has been diagnosed, it has almost always become fatal.

Asbestos-related lung cancer is almost exactly the same and looks exactly the same, as the lung cancer that is caused by smoking and other dangerous causes. Medical professionals have estimated that there is around one lung cancer for each mesothelioma death.

Asbestosis is a very serious scarring condition of the lung that commonly occurs after having extreme exposure to asbestos over several years. This is a condition that can lead to progressive shortness of breath. In especially severe cases then, asbestosis can even be fatal.

Pleural thickening is a problem that can occur after a person has been exposed to asbestos on large scale. The lining of the lungs will thicken and then swell. If this condition continues to become worse, then the lung can actually become squeezed, which will then lead to complete shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest area.

What factors affect the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease?

There are several different factors that can assist in determining how asbestos exposure affects an individual's health. This includes the following:

The amount of asbestos that the individual was exposed to

How long the individual was exposed to the asbestos

The shape, size, and chemical makeup of the specific asbestos fibres

What led to the exposure

Risk factors, including a pre-existing lung condition or smoking

Genetic factors, including having a germline mutation

Who is at risk for an asbestos-related disease?

Most people have been exposed to a variety of asbestos at some stage in their life. There are low levels of asbestos present in the air, as well as in the soil and water. However, the majority of people will never become ill due to their exposure to asbestos.

People who are likely to become ill after exposure to asbestos are those who have been exposed to asbestos on a highly regular basis. This can be common in jobs where they are working closely with the dangerous material or through heavy environmental contact.

Ever since the early 1940s, there have been millions of workers around the globe becoming exposed to asbestos.

The various health hazards that are caused by asbestos fibres have been recognised in workers who have been exposed in trades such as shipbuilding, asbestos mining and milling, the manufacturing of asbestos textiles and other asbestos products, insulation work in the construction and building, and a variety of other work.

Firefighters, automobile workers, asbestos removal workers, drywall removers, and demolition officers may also be exposed to asbestos during their working hours.

Studies have assessed the cancer risk that is experienced by automobile mechanics that have been exposed to asbestos due to brake repair are only limited, but there is other evidence to suggest that there is absolutely no safe level when it comes to asbestos exposure. Due to a mix of new government regulations and generally improved work practices, workers in modern times who have had no previous exposure are much less likely to face risks than workers who have been exposed in the past.

Individuals who were involved with the rescue, recovery, and cleanup at the site of the September 11th 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York are another group of people who are at great risk of developing some variety of asbestos-related diseases or conditions. This is because asbestos was used heavily in the construction of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and when the building was attacked, there were hundreds and hundreds of tons of asbestos material released directly into the atmosphere.

The workers who are at greatest risk are the police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, construction workers, and volunteers who were working and trying to help in the rubble at what is known as ground zero. Residents who lived in close proximity to the World Trade Center towers and people who were attending schools located nearby are also at high risk.

It is important for these individuals to be studied in order to determine what the long-term consequences of asbestos exposure are to a person's health. However, it is important to remember that some of the symptoms that these individuals may experience could be due to the general exposure to debris particles rather than the asbestos.

Even though it is clear that there is a link between the health risks from asbestos exposure increasing when exposure is heavier, and there has been a longer exposure time, investigators have still found asbestos-related conditions in people who have had only small and brief encounters with the material.

Commonly, the people who develop kinds of asbestos-related diseases will show zero signs of illness for an extended amount of time after being exposed to asbestos. 

n some cases, it can take between ten and forty years, or even more, for the symptoms of an asbestos-related condition to become an issue.

There is some evidence that suggests that family members of workers that have been exposed heavily to asbestos can face an increased risk of developing a variety of asbestos-related diseases. In the majority of cases, it is mesothelioma.

This risk seems to be the result of the worker bringing home asbestos in their hair, skin, clothes and shoes and then exposing their family to the material.

In order to decrease these kinds of exposures, the law regulates workplace practices, so they can reduce the possibility of asbestos being brought into the home in this way.

Employees may be asked to shower and change the clothes they are wearing before they leave for work. They may also be asked to store their out-of-work clothing in a different location within the workplace or wash their work clothes away from their other items of clothing.

 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: