Asbestos has been confirmed to cause asbestosis
(asbestos cancer) and various forms of cancer.
About 1.3 million employees in the general industry and in the construction
are exposed and are at a risk. Employees who are exposed to asbestos can
develop two different types of asbestos cancer from the highly toxic, fibrous mineral.
The first one is lung cancer and the other one is
Mesothelioma cancer occurs most likely due to asbestos exposure.
Asbestos is the name given to a group of six different fibrous minerals (chrysotile,
amosite, crocidolite, and the fibrous varieties of actinolite, tremolite, and
anthophyllite) that occur in the environment naturally. Asbestos fibers are
not visible by the eye (only by a microscope) and many years have passed
without the employees knowing the harmful consequences (only the industries
knew the harmful consequences). Once inhaling the asbestos fibers, they hook
themselves into the lining of the lungs or other parts of the respiratory
tract and remains there permanently, which poses a major health hazard.
We are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe, but these
are low levels that range from 0.00001 to 0.0001 fibers per milliliter of air
and generally are highest in cities and industrial areas. Although we are
exposed to these dangers, asbestos is still found in more than 3,000 products
Asbestos is a material that has been used over hundreds of years (and has been
mined and used commercially since the late 1800s) to make various sorts of
products such as plastics, ships, vehicle brakes, transmission parts,
automobile clutches, paints, building materials, floor tiles, roofing
materials, some paper products, and much much more. Since the early 1940s,
millions of employees have been exposed to asbestos dust and are all at risk.
The number of deaths caused by asbestos have increased steadily since the
Although the harmful consequences asbestos minerals cause to human kind, some
organizations still chose/choose to use asbestos and many structures still
contain asbestos containing minerals because of its physical characteristics
(separate long fibers, strong and flexible to be spun and woven), which make
it resistant to heat, fire, and many caustic chemicals. These physical characteristics are linked
with several adverse human effects. Asbestos breaks into dust of microscopic
fibers. These fibers can linger in the air for a long time and can easily be
inhaled and enter the body, where it can reside permanently. Therefore,
exposure to asbestos can cause asbestosis (asbestos cancer), which makes it very difficult to
breath, which can consequently be fatal.
If you are working in the below occupations you need to pay careful attention. Brake Mechanics, metal plate workers, Insulators,
plumbers, boilermakers, shipyard workers, shipfitters, electricians,
maintenance workers, carpenters, gas fitters, or any occupation where you are
exposed to asbestos particles. People living near these industries may also be
exposed to high levels of asbestos in air.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), has enforced
(asbestos law) to protect the workforce. There are certain standards as how
much asbestos levels are allowed. Currently the law allows 0.1 fibers per
cubic centimeter for an eight hour work day period and one fiber per cubic
centimeter in any given thirty minute time period. The law also require the
employers to provide their employees with training on how to safely work with
asbestos, conduct routine health exams, provide protective respiratory and
clothing equipment, and hygiene facilities. Employers are also required to
create regulated work areas and conduct frequent exposure monitoring.