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Dangers of Asbestos

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals with characteristically long, thin fibers. Asbestos fibers are very small; they readily float in the air and are easy to inhale. Once in the lungs, they stick to the inner linings and accumulate over a period of time. This causes several diseases that can eventually affect breathing. It is also a contaminant.

Mesothelioma

It is a rare type of cancer that severely affects the inner linings of the lungs, heart and abdomen. It has been observed in people occupationally exposed to asbestos and their family members. It has also been observed in people living close to asbestos factories or mines. This is an aggressive form of cancer that rapidly deteriorates the functioning of mesothelium (a membrane that lines the lungs) causing cells in the membrane and hence making them cancerous. This eventually leads to membrane thickening, building up of fluid and tumor formation. Difficulty in breathing, nausea and fatigue are the most commonly visible effects.

There are four types of malignant Mesothelioma cancers.

  1. Pleural – this type develops in the pleura or the linings of the lungs. It is the most common form.
  2. Peritoneal – as the name suggests, this affects the linings of the abdominal cavity, the peritoneal membrane.
  3. Pericardial – this form develops in the pericardium or the lining of the heart.
  4. Testicular – Testicular Mesothelioma, the rarest of all, develops in the tunica vaginalis of the testicles.

Asbestosis

This is caused due to inhaling and trapping of asbestos fibers in the lungs. The human body counters them by producing an acid. This acid has no affect on the fibers; however it proves to be detrimental to the lung tissues. Over a long period, the acid causes scarring of lung tissues which eventually leads to pulmonary fibrosis and a reduced functioning of the lungs.

Lung Cancer

It is the most lethal tumor of the lungs. It can be caused and asbestos exposure and aggravated by smoking habits.

Asbestos warts

When sharp asbestos fibers are lodged in the skin, the body tries to protect itself through the inflammation process. This causes an overgrowth of the asbestos fibers.

Pleural Diseases

These are caused when the fibers penetrate a sac that covers the lungs’ outer surface. They can lead to impairment of lung functions.

Others

Asbestos exposure can also lead to gastrointestinal cancer. A few cases of larynx cancer have also been reported.

Acting as Contaminants

The smaller and lighter the fibers, the more easily they float in the air. Not only are they easily inhaled by humans and animals, but also get deposited on food items, clothing, open water and human body. Though they do settle down, however, they float again due to air currents.

Vermiculite, a hydrated laminar silicate of aluminum, iron and magnesium, has been often found to be contaminated with small amounts of asbestos. People engaged in the mining of this silicate have also been reported to exhibit symptoms of asbestos related diseases. Similar contamination has been reported in Talcum powders and children’s crayons (oil pastels) made from asbestos.


Asbestos
 License 12-4983

Lead License 23795


Ashley Sladek
AAA Asbestos & Lead Inspections

Contact Information
Los Angeles, CA

Toll free: 877-301-1936
Cell Phone: 310-592-3657
Office Phone: 310-345-7051
Fax: 310-318-6084
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