Asbestos Fibers Lodge Deep In Lung Tissue
Asbestos disease is a general denotation for all the diseases that result from asbestos exposure. One out of every 125 American men over the age of 50 who dies was a victim of this carcinogen, according to the Environmental Working Group Action Fund. The group also estimates that in the United States at least 10,000 people die every year from an asbestos disease. This category includes asbestosis, pleural and pulmonary mesothelioma, as well as other asbestos-related disorders.
All forms of the fibers are hazardous when inhaled, though some specific types may put one at increased risks. The shape is a factor. Each compound can take a different shape - including amphibole (or straight and narrow) and serpentine (or curved). Some of the compounds specifically banned by the EPA include:
Several studies have shown the amphibole shape to increase the chance of developing mesothelioma cancer over other forms of asbestos disease, because these cause deeper damage in the lung tissue. Examples of this likely culprit include amosite and crocidolite. Although its building applications have been minimized, crystotile is one kind of compound still permitted in manufacturing, though it is limited to non-respirable forms. These are also criticized because they may decay and eventually release a respirable form.
Although this carcinogen was one of the first hazardous pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act, and many uses were outlawed by the Toxic Substances Control Act, it is still a hazard for at least 1.3 million U.S. workers, according to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care in Medicine. Workers in construction, maintenance, and automotive industries should be aware of their greater environmental risk for acquiring health problems
Symptoms include shortness of breath and chest pain. Since they are difficult to detect and classify until damage is extensive, it is useful to be aware of one’s work environment and consider the relative health of co-workers. A CT scan or X-ray can reveal lung damage, but a biopsy is often the only way to reveal the carcinogen lodged in the tissue itself. Locating the source of exposure can be essential in any litigation related to the workplace.
Mesothelioma is perhaps the most well-known type of cancer that can result from exposure, but it comes in other forms as well – including lung, gastrointestinal tract, kidney, larynx, colorectal, esophagus, and gallbladder.
Since the malignant cancerous forms usually come with poor prognosis and treatments which offer only to extend life, not to eradicate the cancer, working with attorneys to recover medical costs and damages from suffering can help.
One of the resources with which many Americans should be familiar is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an agency for public health research and awareness. Part of their work includes the office known as NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. To regulate the toxic substance on jobsites, NIOSH searches specifically for this carcinogen on work sites and makes recommendations to control potential hazards when they are found. The agency also publishes information on health effects.
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