Skip to main content

‘Why get asbestos inspection, management and removal services?’ Some may ask this question since in recent years, severe negative health effects from asbestos exposure have not been as common as they were in the twentieth century. Add to that the fact that the use of asbestos has significantly declined across all industries, and identifying and removing asbestos does not seem to be all that urgent.

The threat of asbestos however, is real and present; and the primary reason it is no longer as rampant as it was before is because of thorough inspection, management and removal services. The negative effects of asbestos on the human body have not changed, and are dangerous to say the least, and fatal at their worst.

What Are the Side Effects of Asbestos on the Human Body?

Asbestos negatively affects the human body in a number of ways. When asbestos is inhaled it can get trapped inside a person’s lungs and stay there for a long time causing inflammation, scarring, breathing problems, and eventually more serious health problems.

Asbestos is classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It is specifically pinpointed as a cause of mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the lungs and chest cavity, as well as the abdominal cavity and other internal organs. Asbestos also increases the risk of lung cancer, especially if exposure to asbestos is combined with smoking tobacco.

Other non-cancerous diseases that can be caused by asbestos include asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs from breathing asbestos fibres that causes shortness of breath, persistent coughing and permanent lung damage. Pleural diseases may also develop, which causes changes in the membrane surrounding the lungs and chest cavity. These can make the membranes thicker, or collect fluid around the lungs. While not all who experience pleural changes will have breathing problems, they will most likely have less efficient lung function and be at a greater risk for lung cancer.

How Fast Can Asbestos Affect You?

The effects of asbestos do not present themselves immediately. It can take 10 to 40 years after initial exposure before symptoms start to appear. These symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness
  • Persistent cough that only gets worse over time
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Blood in the sputum or fluid coughed up from the lungs

The appearance of these symptoms however may not always be asbestos related; a thorough physical examination is recommended to determine exactly what you are suffering from and its direct causes.

If you’re fairly certain that you’ve been exposed to asbestos previously, there are several other factors you may also have to consider. The level at which asbestos can affect one’s health can depend on the following:

  • Level of asbestos exposure – How long and how often a person has been exposed to asbestos. Of course the longer and/or more frequently a person is exposed to asbestos products, the more likely they are to develop an asbestos-related illness. This is why those involved in construction, demolition, rescue and recovery, asbestos mining and milling, and manufacturing of asbestos products are at a greater risk for developing asbestos-related illnesses.
  • Levels of asbestos present in the air – Greater amounts mean greater chances of exposure, and consequently greater health risks.
  • Size, shape and chemical makeup of the asbestos present – Asbestos minerals are divided into two major groups: amphibole and serpentine, which includes chrysotile asbestos. Although all forms of asbestos are considered harmful, studies have shown that amphibole forms may cause more harm than chrysotile particularly in causing mesothelioma, since they stay in lungs for a longer period of time.
  • Whether the person has pre-existing breathing or lung problems – People with pre-existing lung conditions are more vulnerable to asbestos-related diseases.
  • Whether the person smokes – Several studies have shown that smokers who are exposed to asbestos have greater risks of developing asbestos-related illnesses.

Numerous studies throughout the years have shown that there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ level of asbestos exposure. This means that any exposure to asbestos poses a real health risk. Hence, it is of utmost importance to limit exposure through asbestos inspection, management and removal. Prevention is the best solution.

If you need professional asbestos inspection, analysis and risk assessment services, get in touch with Asbestos Check today. One can never be too cautious when it comes to securing your space from asbestos exposure. Give us a call now on 02 9621 3706.