The Dangers Of Asbestos And Lung Cancer

by Terry Bryant

The historical legacy of asbestos and lung cancer is far reaching. Not long ago, the material was used quite widely in a myriad of industries. Now it is commonly known that the material is carcinogenic, posing a major health hazard.

What is asbestos and how does it cause harm?

A compound made up of six silicate minerals, asbestos is composed of millions of tiny, invisible-to-the-naked eye crystal fibers. These fibers readily become airborne when disturbed and are often inhaled by those exposed. The fibers then become lodged in the lungs, which creates severe irritation and eventually, cancer. Unfortunately, symptoms of exposure may take decades to present. And once the symptoms appear, it is often too late for any treatment to be effective.

How is one exposed to the mineral?

Asbestos was used in a number of industries dating back to WWII. Before it was widely understood to be unsafe, the substance was particularly popular for construction purposes, in aerospace and in mechanical industries, and it was widely employed as an ingredient in various consumer products.

The material is heat, fire, and chemical-damage resistant, making it perfect for insulation and fire-proofing, among other uses. Due to its properties, it can be found in old drywall, bricks, and numerous other items, including vinyl flooring.

Today, individuals are most likely to encounter asbestos when dealing with older buildings. When a structure containing asbestos use is remodeled, ceiling and wall material can cause become disturbed, leading to exposure. The link between asbestos and lung cancer is clear, so people need to take precautions seriously to avoid exposure at all costs.