Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals. It is known for its chemical- and fire-resistant properties and strength. However, asbestos poses several health risks. For example, being exposed to asbestos fibers can lead to the development of diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis. There are a lot of ways people get exposed to asbestos fibers.
Asbestos fibers are generally not dangerous unless they become airborne. When asbestos fibers become airborne, they break down into tiny particles which can be inhaled. Unfortunately, if you inhale asbestos fibers, they can cause scarring and inflammation.
How do asbestos fibers become airborne? Typically, asbestos fibers become airborne when something disturbs asbestos-containing rock, soil, or other material. As it pertains to the activities that can cause asbestos to become airborne, the following are some of these activities;
- Crushing or cutting products containing asbestos. For example, during demolitions or renovations.
- Erosion of naturally occurring asbestos deposits.
- Gardening in soil that naturally contains asbestos.
- Crushing rocks that have asbestos deposits.
Sources of Asbestos
Asbestos was commonly used in products like roofing, insulation, floor tiles, heat-resistant fabrics, wallboard, ceiling tiles, and automotive parts, all of which are asbestos-containing products that can still be legally processed, manufactured, distributed and imported to the U.S. Other products which may still be manufactured using small amounts of asbestos include brake pads and gaskets.
The most common place to find asbestos-containing products is in old buildings. However, if asbestos-containing products in an old building are not disturbed, they are not dangerous. Issues arise when a building is, for example, being demolished or renovated. During demolitions or renovations, asbestos fibers that get released into the air can stay there for a long time before settling in the dust.
Preventing Asbestos From Becoming Airborne
Firstly, if you work with asbestos, you should get proper training on how to handle asbestos. Secondly, you should leave asbestos removal to the experts. Thirdly, if you live in an old home, it is best to avoid disturbing materials that could contain asbestos.
Unfortunately, the truth is that it might not be possible to avoid asbestos exposure completely. For example, some employers let their workers get exposed to asbestos. Fortunately, you have legal options if you suffer asbestos exposure and develop an asbestos-related disease because of another party.
Symptoms of Asbestos-related Diseases
After being exposed to airborne asbestos fibers, you may not develop an asbestos-related disease until years after the exposure. An illness like mesothelioma can have a latency period of up to 50 years. This means that a person may suffer asbestos exposure and be symptom-free for up to 50 years after exposure.
According to Mayo Clinic, the following are some of the common symptoms of mesothelioma;
- Painful coughing
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain
Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.