Asbestos is a type of naturally occurring mineral, there are six different types of crystals that form depending on what materials were used during construction. Commonly found in old buildings and structures, such as offices and warehouses, the most common type of asbestos found is Chrysotile or ‘white asbestos.’ But just how dangerous is asbestos? And who is the most at risk from asbestos? In this blog, we’ll explain how dangerous asbestos really is.

Asbestos, when undisturbed, is usually safe and isn’t a cause for concern. However, when the material containing asbestos begins to crumble, the asbestos will start to emit fibres in the air which can cause some serious health problems. Crumbling asbestos is known as friable; specifically, when the asbestos is easily broken by hand. Once the asbestos is broken, the air surrounding it becomes extremely hazardous and should be removed by professionals as soon as possible to prevent any further contamination.

The spores that asbestos release into the air can cause a range of different health issues to anyone who breathes them in. Asbestos is dangerous because anyone who has breathed in the asbestos fibres will not show any symptoms of any possible health condition for anywhere between 1-10 years, in which time the fibres would have settled in your system and will begin to develop untreatable health conditions. Some of these conditions are as follows:

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects your Pleura (the lining of the lungs) and your Peritoneum (your lower digestive track). Being nearly exclusive to asbestos exposure, there is almost no way to treat the cancer and is therefore extremely fatal.

Asbestos-related Lung Cancer

Asbestos-related Lung Cancer looks almost identical to other types of lung cancer that is caused by smoking etc. Due to the nature of asbestos, this articular type of lung-cancer can be more deadly than the types that are more easily identifiable.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is caused from heavy exposure of asbestos over multiple years. This condition causes heavy scarring of the lungs and in most cases can be fatal. Asbestosis causes a shortness of breath that progressively gets worse as the scarring continues to grow.

Pleural Thickening

A more general condition that occurs after heavy asbestos exposure. Pleural Thickening is the swelling and thickening of the lining of the lungs. As the condition grows, the lungs may become suffocated and can cause a shortness of breath and/or discomfort in the chest.

These fatal conditions aren’t the only things that asbestos can cause. Short term exposure to the asbestos fibres can cause dry coughs, shortness of breaths, loss of appetite followed by weight loss and chest pains of tightness.

Due to the fact that asbestos exposure is difficult to identify and many of the symptoms don’t appear until the fatal conditions are already set in place, asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance when not handled professionally. Around 5,000 workers die every year from conditions caused by asbestos exposure, that’s more deaths than our roads cause annually.

With all of this in mind, it’s very important to be educated on asbestos and aware of your surroundings in your everyday living environments. Make sure your homes and workplaces are surveyed for asbestos and keep yourself and everyone around you safe. To arrange an asbestos survey, please contact our team.