Asbestos poisoning is a risk to humans when an asbestos-containing material breaks down or is somehow disturbed. When asbestos deteriorates or is otherwise disturbed, its microscopic-size fibers are released into the air, where they can remain suspended for hours to days. The poisoning can happen to anyone in the area who breathes in these fibers.
Inhaling Asbestos Fibers
A single human hair is about 1200 times thicker than an asbestos fiber. When there is a tremendous amount of asbestos fibers in the air, they might be noticeable as a cloud of dust, but plenty of asbestos poisoning can be present with no visible presence.
Many people have inhaled asbestos fibers (sometimes on a daily basis for years) without even knowing it.
Life threatening Cancer Diseases from Asbestos Poisoning
Asbestos poisoning can result in a multitude of serious, even fatal, conditions, including:
- Asbestosis ─ scarring of lung tissue that severely hinders breathing; can be fatal
- Lung cancers ─ small-cell and non-small-cell lung cancer
- Mesothelioma cancer ─ cancer of the mesothelium or pericardium, tissues inside the chest cavity
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Immune system damage
- Other types of respiratory and digestive damage
Asbestos Poisoning Symptoms
The asbestos poisoning symptoms usually don't appear until years after the asbestos fibers are inhaled. It's generally 10 to 40 years later that the victims of asbestos poisoning start exhibiting symptoms such as (but not limited to):
- A mass in the abdomen
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Chest wall pain / pain under the rib cage
- Fatigue, anemia
- Hoarseness, wheezing
- Pleural effusion (fluid around a lung)
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
By the time the asbestos poisoning symptoms become apparent, the damage has already been done. If you are experiencing symptoms of asbestos cancer, seek medical attention immediately, and contact mesothelioma treatment centers for information about helpful resources.