Exposure to asbestos

For almost a century, due in part to its incredibly durable nature, asbestos was used in a variety of ways throughout a wide array of industrial sectors, from construction to manufacturing, housing to school building. Almost every single type of construction which took place over a hundred years may have possibly contained some element of asbestos material in some form or another.

Despite evidence of the risks of asbestos exposure coming to the fore as early as the 1920s, it wasn’t until half way through the 20th century that researchers officially established the connection between asbestos exposure and serious respiratory conditions. By that late stage, however, millions of workers had already encountered sufficient exposure to asbestos in most of their working environments and on most of the construction sites they worked on. By the time the U.S. Federal government stepped in with a federal asbestos exposure limit, which was imposed in 1972, sufficient construction using the hazardous material had already taken place. Since that time, an approximated 10,000 people have died and continue to die each year from asbestos exposure and subsequent related illnesses.

It is important to remember that everyone has different reactions to varying levels of asbestos exposure, so there are no definitive answers when it comes to assessing the likelihood of risk someone has of developing an asbestos-related disease. However, with the information we do have at our disposal, we can mention broadly the factors that may come into play as having may potentially increase the risk of a person contracting an asbestos exposure related disease.

There are a multitude of factors to consider, but some of the most important are listed below:

  • Amount of dose (how much asbestos was an individual exposed to).
  • Duration and frequency of time (how long and how often was an individual exposed).
  • Size, shape, and chemical makeup of the asbestos fibers.
  • What was the actual source of the exposure.
  • Individual risk factors, such as smoking and pre-existing lung disease that may increase risk.

All types of asbestos are considered hazardous to your health. However, health risks do differ between the different types of asbestos people are exposed to. So, chrystophile asbestos may be considered to be less dangerous than amphibole asbestos, especially for risk of mesothelioma, because amphibole asbestos has been proven to stay in the lungs for a longer period of time.

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