Effects of Asbestos on Health

For a long time, asbestos was nicknamed “the magic mineral” because of its unique physical and chemical properties. The material is used in many products, including road signs, floor tiles, sewage pipes, and insulating mattresses. Since asbestos is used in building materials, it is easy to get in contact with asbestos even if you are not a builder.

It is no wonder that testing your house for asbestos is a branch of home inspections in Salt Lake City. The idea is to make sure that you are protected from its effects. Exposure is often through inhaling, which will result in several health problems. Different factors will determine whether you contact disease, including the amount of the mineral that you breathe in, the length of exposure, and your existing medical conditions. Smoking tobacco, for instance, can make your chances of infection go up. Diseases that are related to asbestos include:


Breathing in asbestos can result in tiny fibers accumulating in the lungs, causing them to irritate. Asbestosis is the name given to lung scarring as a result of those fibers. Because of the scars, carbon dioxide and oxygen can no longer pass easily, causing breathing to become difficult. Asbestosis occurs when someone has had extended exposure. It could be years before they begin to exhibit any symptoms.

Pleural Disease

This is another lung condition caused by the fibers. The membrane around the lungs, pleura, changes. It becomes thicker than it should be. In another instance, the layer could develop plaques in parts. The third option would be where fibers cause fluid to build up in the lungs—pleural effusion. Depending on the people, how the disease manifests will be different, but they will all experience breathing problems.

Lung Cancer

lung xray

Exposure to asbestos, mainly if it is sustained for an extended period, can cause one to develop lung cancer. The cancerous tumor will block airways, making breathing very difficult. If combined with other lifestyle choices such as cigarette smoking, exposure to asbestos will increase the chances of getting this cancer.


This is another rare type of cancer where the tumor may cover the lungs. It often affects the membrane in the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity. It can spread to affect membranes in other organs. Signs of lung cancer will begin to manifest about 30 years after one is exposed to asbestos. The tumor often shows up in the ovary and the larynx. Research suggests that it could spread to affect the colorectum, stomach, and pharynx.

If you work with asbestos, it is advisable to wear protective gear and visit a medical provider often to assess your situation. Sometimes a doctor may decide that you need a physical exam based on your medical history and exposure. Note that it is impossible to remove asbestos from the lungs after exposure. That is why prevention is the best option. If exposure has already happened, slowing down the progress of a disease is the next best thing. One way to avoid further exposure is to organize regular asbestos testing.

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