Coronavirus Information: Vaccinations | Testing | Safety Policies & Visitor Guidelines | Appointments & Scheduling | FAQs

What is Asbestos?

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals commonly used in building materials such as flooring, ceilings, roofing, automotive parts, and other construction materials.

Asbestos is known for its heat resistance, strength, and versatility. Asbestos is extremely toxic and known to cause a number of respiratory and lung disorders including pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Asbestos is now banned in more than 60 countries worldwide because of its harmful effects as a human carcinogen.

Why is Asbestos Hazardous?

Asbestos is hazardous because its microscopic fibers become airborne and can be inhaled or ingested. When asbestos materials are friable, or can easily crumble into dust, the fibers float through the air. When inhaled, the fibers become lodged deep in the tissue of the lungs. The body has no way of expelling the fibers and over time, inflammation and scar tissue builds within the branches of the lungs that could possibly lead to cancer.

What are Asbestos Exposure Symptoms?

Asbestos exposure symptoms include:
  • Anemia
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficult breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • High white cell count
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Pain in the chest
  • Pain in the lungs
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss

How Can Asbestos Cause Cancer?

When asbestos is inhaled into the lungs or accidentally ingested, it can have long–term devastating effects on your health.

Microscopic asbestos fibers can remain lodged in the lungs for many years and unlike other poisons, asbestos exposure symptoms can take a long time to appear. Often times when symptoms do appear, people do not seek immediate medical attention.

Asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis can take between 15 to 20 years to develop, which can result in late detection. Many people with asbestos disease have worked at jobs where they have had long-term exposure such as in the construction and manufacturing industries.