You may not always be aware of it, but your body is constantly exposed to hazardous chemicals and minerals on a daily basis. Even though the human body knows how to ward off potentially threatening infections and diseases, preventing your exposure to these health perils is what’s best for you. However, avoiding some toxic components isn’t easy, especially when they’re found almost anywhere and they’re not always visible. One mineral that’s evidently found to be dangerous to a person’s health is asbestos. Despite asbestos being a naturally-occurring mineral, being exposed to it will not do your health any good. It can even cause various types of diseases, including cancer. Asbestos is a mineral that you want to be aware of so you don’t risk your exposure to it.
If you want to find out how asbestos is harmful to you and the others exposed to it, read on.
What Is Asbestos?
As stated, asbestos is a mineral that is found in soils and rocks. The construction and automotive industry once capitalized on asbestos because of its resistance to heat, electricity, and chemical damage. Common building items were almost always made with asbestos in the past, from vinyl tiles to insulation walls, most houses are practically built with it. Even vehicles have asbestos in them, particularly on the brakes and clutches.
Though asbestos is recognized as a hazardous mineral, many countries still don’t prioritize the eradication of it. The United States, for instance, is yet to ban asbestos. It may even take longer for Russia as it’s the country that produces the most asbestos in the world. While the complete elimination of asbestos is yet to be addressed by these countries, several others already took the step to ban asbestos.
How Does Asbestos Exposure Endanger My Wellbeing?
Using asbestos in building materials may have been reasonable before, but this was before the discovery of its harmful effects. You might think that being around this component will not have any detrimental effects on your health, but constantly being exposed to it may cause you to be ill without you even noticing it. Below are just some of the types of cancer you may develop with prolonged exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive type of cancer that is associated with asbestos exposure. Though it only accounts for 0.17% of cancer diagnoses, just like any other type of cancer, it’s a disease that you should prevent yourself, and the people around you, from having. Common symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, difficulty breathing, nausea, unexplained weight loss, and unusual lumps on your chest.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for mesothelioma. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos and are manifesting symptoms that you think may be mesothelioma, schedule an appointment with your physician immediately. He or she will then do an X-Ray on you and also have you undergo a biopsy and CT Scan. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you can still enjoy life and find ways to alleviate the pain that you’re feeling.
Asbestos has fibres that can be inhaled by a person close to it. And the chronic exposure to asbestos can lead to asbestosis; a condition where your lungs are scarred and inflamed due to having asbestos fibres in your system. Though it’s not cancer, complications of asbestosis may potentially lead to it. Symptoms of asbestosis also include the same ones as mesothelioma does. That’s why it’s important that you have yourself checked by a doctor as soon as the symptoms appear.
- Other Lung Diseases
The constant exposure to asbestos increases your risk of many other types of lung diseases. The risk is magnified even more if you’re a smoker. Smokers who are exposed to asbestos over a long period of time will have difficulty in getting rid of the fibres as having nicotine in your system further irritates your lungs.
How Do I Prevent Asbestos Exposure?
If you live in one of the countries where asbestos is banned, then you shouldn’t be too worried about being exposed to it anymore. However, if you’re still concerned about its presence in your surroundings, you can check the construction materials around your house and find out if asbestos was used in making it.
There are a lot of building companies that opt for non-toxic construction alternatives these days. If you’re in the process of building or renovating a house, then you can purchase items with asbestos-free materials instead.
Asbestos is a life-threatening compound that can be found in many places, even in your home. Even though there are countless credible studies that prove just how much it can affect a person’s health negatively, many countries still haven’t taken any measures to eradicate the production of it. But, you and the people around you can avoid it by buying non-toxic building materials instead and actively informing your loved ones of the dangers of asbestos exposure.