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Fast facts about asbestos exposure and your health

You undoubtedly know that breathing in asbestos fibers is hazardous, but you may be a little hazy as to why that is so. Read on for some important information about the negative effects of asbestos on your health.

Our nose does a good job of filtering out much of the debris in the air before it ever gets to out lungs, but tiny fibers of asbestos can slip past the cilia and enter the lungs. There, they get embedded in the tissue and inflame and scar it, causing breathing difficulties and eventually death from mesothelioma.

While there is no such thing as a safe level of asbestos exposure, those most likely to develop asbestosis or mesothelioma have had frequent asbestos exposures, been exposed to very high concentrations of the toxic material or had exposures of long duration.

Certain kinds of fibers like tremolite are more durable and longer, which means that they and other amphiboles create an even higher risk and/or increase the severity of the disorders.

Asbestos exposure has an extremely long latency period, which can make it difficult to diagnose early. In some cases, however, the presence of pleural effusions can be an early warning sign that workers have had asbestos exposures.

Once the exposure has occurred, the disease progresses regardless of avoidance of additional exposures. Smokers can diminish their risk of contracting a deadly lung cancer by quitting now.

Those working around asbestos must exercise extreme caution and wear special protective devices and clothing. They should never wear their work clothes home or they run the risk or exposing family members to the deadly fibers by introducing them into the car or home.

If you decide to pursue a claim about a workplace asbestos exposure, an attorney can guide you through the process.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Health Effects," accessed July 08, 2016

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