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Asbestos Exposure: Risks Involved And Solutions
Cause of Mesothelioma Cancers
Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer, a life threatening disease. Asbestos exposure is so dangerous that even a short-term exposure or a minute exposure to asbestos may cause mesothelioma cancer. Only a doctor or a specialist in occupational medicine can tell you about the possibility of developing mesothelioma cancer after making queries about what kind of jobs you have worked on in the past and for how long. The doctors do this making assessment of your asbestos exposure and then evaluating your possibility of contacting asbestos related disease.
Who Are At Risk for Asbestos Exposure?
Chances of asbestos exposure are more if you have worked in companies dealing in building and insulation materials, fireproofing, cement, pipe covering, refractory materials, gaskets, floor tiles and joint compounds. Auto mechanics particularly those who repair brake or clutch are also at the risk of asbestos exposure.
When Asbestos Exposure Becomes Harmful
There is no proven test to determine whether a material contains the asbestos or not. Manufacturers do not label the materials containing asbestos. In old materials, it becomes more difficult to confirm whether it poses the risk of asbestos exposure from the manufacturer because we do not know its source. When you have no other option, it is always better and safer to assume that material contains asbestos.
Keep it in mind that asbestos fibers released in the air are responsible for asbestos exposure. Asbestos in intact condition is not a health hazard. If asbestos-containing material is friable i.e. if it crumbles easily then chances of asbestos exposure increases, particularly if it is dry and damaged. If we try to sand, saw, hammer, drill, pull apart or disturb in any other way then even non-friable material may start releasing fibers in the air.
Finding the Substitute
Government banned the use of asbestos due to increasing awareness about harmful effects of asbestos exposure. Scientists are trying to develop new materials as a substitute to asbestos. Fiberglass has emerged as most popular substitute to asbestos. However, fiberglass also is not completely safe material. Exposure to airborne fiberglass or even direct contact with fiberglass may result into irritation of skin, eyes, nose and throat. Inhalation of fiberglass may lead to bronchitis. It may cause permanent damage to lungs and airways ultimately resulting in lung cancer. Nevertheless, experts still feel that fiberglass is far better than asbestos.
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