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Health hazardous of asbestos

Exposure to asbestos increases your risk of developing lung disease as fibers become embedded and accumulate in lung tissue over time. There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos, so contact with any amount of asbestos should be avoided. Disease symptoms may take several years to develop following exposure.


Asbestosis is a serious, progressive, long-term non-cancer disease of the lungs. It is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers that lodge in the alveoli and cause the tissues to scar. The scarring makes it hard for oxygen to get into the blood.

Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath and a dry, crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling. There is no effective treatment for asbestosis.


Lung Cancer

Lung cancer causes the largest number of deaths in the U.S. related to asbestos exposure. People who work in the mining, milling, manufacturing of asbestos, and those who use asbestos and its products are more likely to develop lung cancer than the general population.

The most common symptoms of lung cancer are coughing and a change in breathing. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, persistent chest pains, hoarseness, and anemia.


Epidemiologic evidence has increasingly shown that all asbestos fiber types, including the most commonly used form of asbestos, chrysotile, causes mesothelioma in humans.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer due to asbestos fibers lodging in the thin lining of the lungs causing tumors to grow in the lung, chest, abdomen, and heart. This disease may not show up until many years after asbestos exposure.

It is important to know the following things about exposure to asbestos:

  • Airborne levels of asbestos are never to exceed legal worker exposure limits.

  • There is no "safe" level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber.

  • Asbestos exposures as short in duration as a few days have caused mesothelioma in humans.

  • Every occupational exposure to asbestos contributes to the risk of getting an asbestos related disease.

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