Asbestos is a fibrous mineral formerly widely used in the field of construction and industry for its various fire-retardant, rot-proof properties and its high resistance. However, many serious health problems are seen in people exposed to this substance. This is the reason why the use of asbestos in the construction and industrial sector has become prohibited. Discover the real dangers that this substance represents for health.
What are the health risks associated with exposure to asbestos?
Dust containing asbestos is very volatile and invisible to the naked eye. Its detection then remains very difficult, which increases the risks of exposure to this material. They can be easily inhaled and end up in the deep areas of our respiratory system.
Once asbestos is found in large quantities in the lungs, the disorder called fibrosis or asbestosis then occurs. This disease results in the presence of pleural plaques, a thickening of the envelope of the lungs in places. These plaques lead to deformation of the lungs, which then causes respiratory problems such as shortness of breath.
Another serious disorder caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos is retroperitoneal fibrosis. It is an alteration of the lining of the thoracic cavity and leads to chronic renal failure.
Finally, one of the most serious consequences of inhaling asbestos on the respiratory tract is the development of cancer. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the pleural cavity which surrounds the lungs. Bronchopulmonary cancer is also a cancer that attacks the lung cavities. Each of these mentioned disorders can cause the death of the victim in the absence of medical treatment.
But asbestos also attacks the body’s immune functions. Indeed, scientific studies have established a direct correlation between prolonged exposure to asbestos and a significant drop in the immune system. This observation is all the more obvious in people suffering from asbestosis. It is important to note that these diseases appear several years after exposure.
Who are most at risk from asbestos inhalation?
The use of asbestos in construction and industry has been banned for many years. Nevertheless, many houses still have materials with asbestos. For information, asbestos is not dangerous if the material in question is still in good condition. It is as you age that asbestos fibers are gradually released, increasing the risk of exposure. The people most likely to inhale asbestos are therefore the occupants of houses whose damaged materials still contain asbestos.
But many professionals now offer asbestos testing and home asbestos removal services. This is a process that will first identify the presence of asbestos in insulation and other materials in the house, check their state of degradation, then indicate the level of risk of exposure to asbestos fibers released in the house. They then proceed to replace the already old materials with new ones that do not contain asbestos. They will also decontaminate the house to eliminate any risk of inhalation after their visit.
Technicians who carry out asbestos removal are also very exposed to the risk of inhalation, especially when their protective equipment is not highly reliable.