Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a cancer that most commonly attacks the lungs and abdomen. It was rare until industrial and commercial companies expanded the use of asbestos during the 20th century. After spending decades investigation the disease and its causes, medical researchers identified one primary culprit: Exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma go hand-in-hand.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma are nothing to take lightly. Asbestos can cause health complications when work duties or other activities disturb asbestos containing material and release fibers into the air. When we inhale or swallow these microscopic fibers, our bodies struggle to get rid of them. Over decades, the trapped fibers trigger biological changes that can cause inflammation, scarring and genetic damage that sometimes leads to cancer. The lengthy gap between asbestos and mesothelioma or other cancers is called the latency period.
Asbestos fibers most often become trapped in the lining of the lungs, called the pleura. They also can collect in the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum) or heart (pericardium). Once fibers cause biological damage, the stage is set for the decades-long latency period for the development of malignant mesothelioma.
Examples of those who may be exposed to asbestos in the workplace are those in industrial settings, shipyards, auto repair shops, old houses, school, and public buildings.
You may be asking how does asbestos cause cancer? While asbestos exposure is hazardous, not all asbestos products are inherently hazardous. Because asbestos must be inhaled to represent a health risk, only loose asbestos fibers or those in the air supply (a condition known as friable) represent a true hazard. Stable asbestos compounds, such as intact cement, tiles, or other products are generally not an immediate hazard. Exposure to friable asbestos fibers was common when grinding, chipping, demolishing, or retrofitting asbestos products. Each of these functions could potentially release asbestos into the air supply where it would be easily inhaled. In this case asbestos and mesothelioma can be the result.
The Link Between Asbestos and Mesothelioma
According to www.Asbestos.com, Medical research studies gradually pointed to the fact that breathing in minuscule asbestos fibers starts a chain of physical and metabolic events that lead to the development of several types of cancers or an incurable breathing disorder called asbestosis.
In March 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer reconfirmed that asbestos exposure is the leading cause for mesothelioma and all forms of asbestos cause the disease.
In March 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) presented an update on the link between asbestos and mesothelioma at a World Health Organization conference in Spain. The IARC explained the scientific evidence of this link has only strengthened over time, and there is overwhelming proof asbestos is cancerous to humans — regardless of the type or fiber length.
So, if you are working or living in an environment where you suspect asbestos is being disturbed, the best thing to do would be to test by taking a sample of the material and sending to a lab. There are some asbestos testing kits where you can easily and safely take the sample yourself.
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