What is Asbestos and Its Exposure Risks for your Health
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that is naturally found in rocks and soil. It is sturdy, chemical, and heat-resistant, and therefore used in many different products like floor tiles, building materials, vehicle brakes, and heat and electrical insulation. If not taken proper care of while dealing with it, serious health hazards can take place. Thus, one of the ways to avoid such hazards is to complete the 10675NAT asbestos awareness training to ensure safe handling of the perilous product.
Despite the training, one should be aware of its harmful effects on health for their well-being. A few of these detrimental effects are as follows:
Asbestosis is a non-cancerous lung disease. This disease is formed when asbestos fibers are inhaled for an extended period of time which then starts accumulating in the lungs. This results in many symptoms like shortness of breath, extreme tiredness, continuous cough, and sharp pain in the chest.
Uncured asbestosis over a prolonged time period can lead to lung cancer. People who smoke are at a greater risk to develop lung cancer compared to those who are only exposed to asbestos. If a tumor in the lungs is not treated at an early stage, it can spread throughout the lungs and ultimately to the rest of the body.
Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers over time. It is formed in the linings of the lungs, abdomen, and chest wall. Few symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, weight loss, lethargy, and fever.
Laryngeal cancer is caused in the larynx, commonly called the voice box. Exposure to asbestos leads to this rare cancer. Some symptoms of laryngeal cancer are hoarseness, lump in the neck or throat, persistent cough, sore throat, and ear pain.
Exposure to asbestos can cause few other cancers which include:
- Stomach cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Colon cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Pharyngeal cancer
- Esophageal cancer
Ways to Reduce Hazards Caused by Asbestos
As asbestos can have such an adverse effect on your overall health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Hence, undertaking the following preventions can help you work safely:
- Workers should have basic knowledge of asbestos
- Proper training should be given to the workers prior to dealing with asbestos
- Protective gear should be worn
- Consistent medical checkups should be done
- Dispose of asbestos waste safely and properly
- Eating and drinking shouldn’t be done in the working area
- Proper adherence to safety procedures
- Only authorized personnel should enter areas with asbestos
Treatment of Asbestos
If you have experienced symptoms related to interaction with asbestos, either by being exposed to asbestos yourself or from someone around you, it’s time for a proper medical examination.
For a proper diagnosis, the doctor will run a few tests like a CT scan and chest X-ray, and as a result, the treatment will depend on the severity of the disease caused by asbestos. Along with medication, there are several therapies that can be done. Some of these therapies include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, oxygen therapy, and photodynamic therapy. In some cases, surgery may be the best option for treatment. Certain vaccines can also help alleviate the symptoms of asbestosis. People who smoke should quit smoking immediately to avoid further damage to their lungs.