Asbestos is a group name and minerals that occur naturally in the masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven. Asbestos has been mined and used commercially since 1800, its use has increased greatly during the Second World War. Asbestos was widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, tiles, flooring, textiles, and insulation. Since 1940, the first half, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust.
If tiny asbestos particles float in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they can be inhaled or swallowed and can cause serious health problems. In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung disease) and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.
Initially, the risks of asbestos exposure were not known. However, an increased risk of mesothelioma was later found in:
People who work in asbestos mines and mills
Producers of asbestos products
Workers in the heating and construction industries
Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. The people who work with asbestos-Use personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of exposure.
The risk of asbestos disease with heavier exposure to asbestos and longer exposure time. However, some individuals with only brief exposures developed mesothelioma. On the other hand, to develop, not all workers who are heavily exposed to asbestos-related diseases.