Asbestos has been linked to many critical health conditions, including mesothelioma, cancer, and other lung diseases. However, most asbestos-related illnesses take years to develop. People who have inadvertently inhaled asbestos fibers may notice face any significant short-term term problems. 

Who is At Risk for Exposure to Asbestos

While we know today that asbestos is incredibly dangerous, this so-called “miracle mineral” was once a mainstay of American industry, used to manufacture everything from automotive parts to wall paint. Asbestos, after all, is a naturally occurring mineral. It is inexpensive to obtain, and easy to incorporate into other products. 

People who worked with asbestos products on a regular basis are at the highest risk of developing asbestos-related diseases and illnesses. 

However, former asbestos workers are not the only high-risk group. People who lived with asbestos workers, and people who live in asbestos-affected homes, could also be at risk of exposure. 

Asbestos in Modern Homes 

Since asbestos is strong and heat-resistant, it was often used to fortify and insulate different materials. Asbestos was especially common in home construction, where it was used to create: 

  • Wall paints 
  • Carpet underlays
  • Asphalt roof shingles 
  • Vinyl floor tiles 
  • Furnace and heat duct wraps 
  • Pipe insulation 

People who own or rent homes built between the 1920s and the 1970s are usually advised to presume that asbestos is present in their structure. 

Beware of Disturbing Dormant Asbestos 

You do not necessarily need to worry if you live in a home that could contain asbestos. When asbestos is trapped behind walls, inside shingles, and underneath flooring, it does not present any significant hazard to human health. 

However, construction, demolition, and renovation work can cause settled asbestos fibers to go airborne. Once asbestos fibers are scattered, they can be inhaled. They might also attach themselves to clothes, hair, or skin, transferring to different parts of a home or office. 

Once inhaled or swallowed from the air, asbestos fibers embed themselves in human tissue like the lungs and respiratory system, and eventually cause damage and disease, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Asbestos and Skin Irritation Symptoms

When asbestos fibers attack the skin, they can cause an immediate reaction. They could provoke: 

  • Localized swelling 
  • Itching 
  • Rash formation 
  • Corns and calluses 

However, asbestos-related skin concerns are not usually serious. Asbestos is at its most dangerous when it is inhaled or otherwise ingested.

Asbestos Exposure Signs and Symptoms

When people do develop the signs of asbestos exposure, their initial symptoms usually involve the lungs. However, asbestos can affect different parts of the body, too, including the throat, stomach, and colon

If asbestos affects the lungs, it could cause symptoms such as: 

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Dry coughing 
  • Chest pain or tightness 
  • Pleural plaques on lung x-rays or C.T. scans 
  • Crackling sound when breathing 
  • Fluid inside the lungs 

When asbestos affects other parts of the body, it could cause symptoms such as: 

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Clubbed or rounded fingers 
  • Unexpected or unexplained weight loss 

Asbestos Diseases Often Stay Silent for Years 

Asbestos was once renowned for its strength, resilience, and heat-resistant properties. However, asbestos’s durability can be dangerous to people. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they could get trapped inside the lungs. Over time, these microscopic fibers can accumulate, scarring lung tissues and causing mesothelioma or other aggressive cancers.

What is a latency in medicine?

A latency is a medical term for the time delay between the exposure or event causing a disease and the appearance of symptoms. Asbestos illnesses can take up to fifty years after asbestos exposure to show any symptoms, even though the body is being damaged.

Is there a safe level of asbestos exposure?

Scientists believe there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Asbestos has been linked to health conditions including: 

  • Asbestosis 
  • Atelectasis
  • Pleural plaques 
  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer 

Despite its obvious dangers, asbestos exposure may not lead to any immediate symptoms. Mesothelioma, for instance, has an average latency period of 47.9 years in men and 53.3 years in women. This means that people who are diagnosed with asbestos-related mesothelioma usually do not have any symptoms for about 50 years after their first asbestos exposure. 

What to Do If You Were Exposed to Asbestos 

People who have asbestos illnesses often cannot remember exactly when they might have been exposed to asbestos. Many other people—including those who never worked with asbestos—develop diseases simply because they once lived with an asbestos worker or stayed near an asbestos mine. 

While asbestos symptoms can be immediate if asbestos fibers attack the skin or eyes, they usually take years to truly manifest. You should always see a doctor if you experience any of the following: 

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Wheezing 
  • Coughing with blood 
  • Swelling in the face or neck 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss 
  • Unexpected fatigue
  • Anemia 

Only a trained professional can confirm an asbestos-related illness. A physician could perform a chest x-ray, C.T. scan, or other medical imaging procedure to check for the presence of tumors or pleural plaques in and around the lungs.

AsbestosClaims.Law is your comprehensive resource for all things asbestos. We hope this information is helpful.

If you have any additional questions or concerns related to asbestos, check out our website and YouTube page for videos, infographics and answers to your questions about asbestos, including health and safety, asbestos testing, removing asbestos from your home and building, and legal information.

And if you believe that you were exposed to asbestos, or have been diagnosed with an asbestos illness, you could be entitled to significant compensation—money you could use to cover the costs of asbestos removal services, pay for medical treatment, and preemptively protect your physical well-being. 

All without filing a lawsuit.

If you’d like help with filing a claim, please get in touch by email at [email protected], or call or text us at (833) 4-ASBESTOS (427-2378) or (206) 455-9190. We’ll listen to your story and explain your options. And we never charge for anything unless you receive money in your pocket.