There are many sicknesses related to exposure of asbestos and the most common are: mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
Mesothelioma is an uncommon type of cancer that involves the thin membrane lining of the lungs, chest, and the abdomen. There are about 200 new cases of mesothelioma that are diagnosed every year in the United States and almost all of the mesothelioma cases are associated with the exposure to asbestos.
A higher risk of mesothelioma is found in individuals who have worked in asbestos mines, asbestos mills and factories, shipyards that are using asbestos in their operations, and those who are producing and installing asbestos insulation. Furthermore, those people who are living with the asbestos workers, or near asbestos mining locations, close to asbestos and product factories, or close to shipyards that are using asbestos, are also at risks. These places manufacture huge quantities of airborne asbestos fibers.
Mesothelioma tends to grow in individuals who inhaled asbestos during their younger days. This is the reason for the efforts being made nowadays to restrict and stop school children from the exposure of asbestos.
Asbestosis refers to a severe, chronic, and non-cancerous respiratory ailment. Asbestosis begins when an individual inhale asbestos fibers and it irritates the lung tissues and causes the tissues to scar. The symptoms of asbestosis include dry crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling and shortness of breath. This illness may gradually cause cardiac failure in its advanced stages.
There is no effective treatment known for asbestosis today and the illness is usually disabling or fatal. The risks may be minimal for individuals who have never been exposed to asbestos and it is uncommonly caused by neighborhood or family exposure. But those who worked with buildings that have asbestos may be at greater risks. The severity of the risks is based on the nature of the exposure and the safety measures taken.
Lung cancer results to the biggest number of asbestos-related deaths. The occurrence of lung cancer in the individuals who are or were involved directly in the mining, milling, manufacturing, and using asbestos and its related products are greater compared to the general population. The most common symptoms are persistent chest pains, hoarseness, shortness of breath, and anemia.
Persons who have been expose to asbestos and are exposed to other carcinogens similar to cigarette smoking, have higher risks of developing lung cancer compare to people who have been exposed only to asbestos. Results of a study showed that asbestos workers who smoke are 90 times the risks of having lung cancer compared to workers who did not smoke and have not been exposed to asbestos.