The Dangers of Asbestos

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The Dangers of Asbestos & Cancer

Asbestos exposure is the leading cause of mesothelioma, which is a rare type of cancer that affects the tissue that lines your lungs, heart, and stomach. While preventive measures have been taken to reduce public exposure to asbestos, this dangerous material is still present in certain settings. To truly protect yourself against the dangers that this exposure to this substance can cause, you'll need to know where asbestos can be found and the ways that it can harm you.

Where Is Asbestos Found?

Asbestos is most commonly found in the home. Up until the latter portion of the 20th century, this carcinogenic substance was used as insulation in many homes, and it may still be present in uncommonly visited parts of your home like your attic or your basement. Asbestos may also be found in a number of different locations in your home such as carpet underlay, fireplace flues, kitchen splashbacks, internal wall lining, and vinyl floor tiles. This substance was also used as the backing of some electrical meters, and it may also be present as insulation for some hot water pipes and tanks.

Outside of the home, asbestos is still dangerous, and it can be found in a variety of unexpected places. For instance, this substance poses a danger to mechanics since it is present in the brakes and clutches of certain older car models. It's hard to identify asbestos brakes and clutches just by looking at them, so auto mechanics should always proceed as if the brakes of older cars are made from this dangerous substance. Also, if asbestos is used on a work site, it can be carried into the home on shoes, clothes, or hats.

In some cases, asbestos is improperly disposed of, which means that could be present in the air at refuse dumps. Since asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, it could also be present in places where it has been crushed by human activity. Of course, asbestos is also present at asbestos mines and factories. In general, being aware that asbestos could be present where you least expect it is the best way to prevent exposure to this potentially lethal substance.

What Are the Dangers of Asbestos?

The most common threat posed by asbestos is mesothelioma. This disease is a type of cancer, but unlike many forms of cancer, the pathophysiology of mesothelioma is clearly understood. This condition is caused when you inhale asbestos fibers, which are the tiny particles that make up asbestos insulation, asbestos brakes, mineral asbestos, or any other form of this substance. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can either stay in the lungs or move through tiny openings called alveoli and enter the pleural lining of your lungs or your chest wall. Asbestos fibers that injure your chest wall eventually cause mesothelioma.

Now that you understand the dangers of asbestos and where to find it, make sure to be actively aware or situations in which this substance may be present. Don't forget to educate your loved ones about the dangers of asbestos as well.