Asbestos is a dangerous material that can lead to serious health complications. The material was a popular construction material due to its high heat and insulation properties. However, later a number of studies found the connection between lung cancer and asbestos exposure. As a result, the Environmental Pollution Agency (EPA) had banned certain asbestos-containing products in the US.
So, how does asbestos affect the lungs? Does it lead to a fatal lung disease? You will find out the answer to these questions in this article.
The Link Between Asbestos and Lung Diseases Explained
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is composed of fine, microscopic fibers. Products that contain asbestos do not pose any danger when left intact. However, when the product gets damaged, asbestos fibers can become airborne.
Once the asbestos fibers are released, a person can easily ingest them. Most of the fibers become stuck in the nose or the trachea. However, some of them are carried to the lower regions of the lungs.
The problem with asbestos fibers is that they can’t be destroyed by the body. The word itself comes from the Greek word meaning ‘inextinguishable’. The fibers are a bane for the body and lead to serious health complications.
Long-term exposure to exposure fibers can cause serious damage to the lungs. It can severely restrict the oxygen-carrying capacity of the lungs. What’s worse is that the damage can’t be reversed by using medications. If the fibers continue to build up over a period of time, they can cause different lung diseases including the following.
- Asbestosis — A chronic non-cancerous lung disease that is characterized by scarring of the tissues.
- Pleural plaque — A disease in which the tissues around the diaphragm and lungs called the pleura thickens. The hardened pleura can compress part of the lung resulting in breathing problem.
- Mesothelioma — A cancerous disease of the pleura that envelops the lungs.
- Pleural effusion — It results due to a buildup of excess fluids in the pleural space between the chest wall and the lungs.
- Laryngeal Effects — A disease in which vocal cords or the voice box become inflamed.
The risk of lung diseases due to asbestos exposure depends on a number of different factors. The duration and the level of exposure determine the severity of the health complications. Also, the age of the individual and smoking habits increases the risk of developing lung diseases. Older people and smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer when exposed to asbestos fibers.
The Importance of Asbestos Inspection
Asbestos inspection is important in buildings that were built prior to 1980s in the US. The first thing that you should do to determine the risk of asbestos exposure is to contact a company that offers asbestos testing.
At SanAir Technologies laboratory, we provide professional asbestos testing services. We offer asbestos analysis using Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM), Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM), and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Our tests include airborne fiber analysis, bulk asbestos analysis, water analysis, dust analysis, and analysis designed for rocks, soil, and vermiculite.
For more information on asbestos testing, you can contact us today by dialing (804) 897-1177.