Mesothelioma Attorneys

Asbestos

Asbestos Cancer

Today asbestos is most well-known for being a toxic substance, often mistakenly believed to be “outlawed”. What you may not know is what it is, why it is dangerous, what it is used for, and how you may still be exposed today. Asbestos exposure is known to cause a form of pulmonary fibrosis called asbestosis, a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma, and other cancers and illnesses.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral. Technically speaking, the name asbestos is a general term for six different silicate minerals. It is naturally occurring and obtained by mining. Asbestos breaks down into tiny fibers, rather than dust. There are several types of asbestos. The shape of the fibers is directly related to its likelihood of causing illness. These fibers are too small to see. Asbestos is useful due to the following qualities:

  • Heat resistant
  • Will not burn
  • Strong, but flexible
  • Good insulator
  • Poor electrical conductor
  • Resistant to corrosion

The tiny fibers can be mixed into other substances to create materials which have the properties of asbestos. It is widely used in construction materials and in applications where heat and fire-proofing are necessary.

Asbestos as a Toxic Substance

Asbestos is toxic, but not in the way we normally think of poisons. Unless you are exposed to an extremely high concentration of asbestos, which is very unusual, you do not “get sick” immediately after exposure. The fibers cause disease very slowly inside of your body because they are sharp and irritating to the tissues and cannot be removed by your immune system. Over a period of decades, this causes the formation of scar tissue and/or abnormal cells (leading to cancer).

Products and materials containing asbestos do not cause harm as long as the asbestos is trapped. Exposure occurs when the fibers are released. So, if you have materials in your home which contain asbestos, you should never try to remove them yourself. As long as the materials are intact, they are not causing asbestos exposure, but when you start tearing them out, you can release the fibers creating the danger you are trying to avoid.

Asbestos Exposure

The majority of people who develop mesothelioma are exposed to asbestos on-the-job, but you can be exposed virtually anywhere. Despite abatement efforts, asbestos can still be found in older buildings including homes, schools, and hospitals. Asbestos has been used in thousands of products, and contrary to popular belief, it is still used in new products to this day.