How Much Asbestos Exposure Is Dangerous?
Nicole Winch | June 30, 2020
Most people come in contact with asbestos at some point in their life. A large majority of those people will not suffer due to that exposure. Asbestos-caused diseases, like mesothelioma, are so rare that only a few thousand cases occur each year.
However, these health risks don’t have a minimum amount of exposure needed to upend your or your loved one’s healthy life.
People who encounter asbestos on a regular basis are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma or asbestos-caused lung cancer. Many times, patients diagnosed with mesothelioma come from high-risk occupations such as construction or shipyard workers. They report regular exposure to this substance.
But there are cases of patients with just a few instances of exposure. The nature of mesothelioma means it only takes one loose, sharp asbestos fiber to damage tissue and cause cells to mutate.
So, What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found within the earth’s surface. There are two families of asbestos: amphibole and serpentine. These families include specific types of asbestos, with the three most common being:chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite.
Until the late 1980s, this material was mined and used for its excellent fire-retardant and insulating properties. Asbestos was used in different building materials such as tiles, flooring, drywall and much more. Many schools, homes, office buildings, entertainment venues and other structures were constructed with these asbestos-containing materials.
In the second half of the 20th century, the medical community pushed the dangers of asbestos to the forefront of public consciousness. The most common diseases associated with asbestos include:
Although the use of asbestos is not banned in the United States, there are regulations set in place today to protect workers from this toxic substance. Many old, decaying homes and offices include asbestos. Even schools face asbestos issues.
Asbestos is still very much present and people can still face exposure from:
- Home renovations
Each of these methods can lead to mesothelioma. Even one day of home renovation work, such as replacing roof shingles or floor tiles, can lead to loose fibers entering the air and exposing you.
How Does Asbestos Affect Your Body?
When left untouched, asbestos-containing materials are not harmful. Asbestos is, however, dangerous when fibers break off from the original source. This occurs due to slight touch, as these fibers are sensitive.
They’re released into the air and inhaled or ingested. The body naturally expels most foreign particles, including asbestos dust. The key word is “most.” Not all.
Oftentimes, people are unaware they are being exposed since it’s nearly impossible to determine when asbestos is in the air. There is ultimately no safe level of asbestos exposure and extra precautions should be taken when dealing with contaminated buildings or products.
What Factors Affect Your Risk of Developing Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that can affect your lungs, abdomen or heart. The only proven cause of this disease is from asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma forms when fibers enter the body and become lodged in any of those three areas.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing mesothelioma cancer:
- Duration (How long you were exposed)
- Dose (How much you were exposed to)
Since mesothelioma develops 20-30 years after asbestos exposure, patients may find it difficult to recall where they could’ve been exposed.
Most important is hiring an experienced law firm to handle your case. The manufacturers of asbestos products knew the risks and willingly continued using the mineral. They should be held responsible, and we at BCBH Law can help you in that effort. One step is through our asbestos exposure sites database page.
Our lawyers have spent years compiling many of the locations throughout the country where asbestos was present. We’ve made it simple for you to check for yourself. Once you’ve done some research, contact our team by filling out a free case evaluation form.