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Is Asbestos A Harmful Substance?



Asbestos is a term used to describe six different naturally occurring fibrous materials: amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and the fibrous variations of tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite. The molecular structure of these materials is one made up of long fibers that can be separated but are sturdy and stretchy enough to be spun, knit, and made heat-resistant. The result is a material that can be used to create a wide variety of textiles we use every day, including roofing shingles, floor tiles and even automobile parts like brake pads.

Is Asbestos A Harmful Substance?

Yes. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen. Asbestos is a very harmful substance when inhaled into the body through the mouth or nose. When you handle asbestos, because of its brittle nature, small pieces of it break off and float through the air. Unless you are wearing proper safety equipment, you will likely inhale many of these tiny airborne specks. Because of the fibrous nature of the material, those specs look much like a barbed rope under the microscope. When you breathe those tiny specks in, the barbs catch on the soft tissues of your nose, mouth, esophagus and lungs, making it so that those particles remain stuck inside your soft tissues. The size and shape of the particles make it nearly impossible for your body to rid itself of the particles via normal expelling processes.

Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?

Because your body cannot dislodge and eject the asbestos particles, they remain lodged in the soft tissues of your respiratory tract. As time passes, the barbs irritate those soft tissues. Constant irritation of those extremely sensitive tissues will eventually lead to the release of cytokines by the body. Those cytokines cause changes to the irritated tissue cells, and sometimes those changes include malignancies, which develop into tumorous and cancerous cells.

Read more about some of the dangers of asbestos.

I Have Been Exposed to Asbestos. What Should I Do?

If you have been exposed to asbestos, below are the three things you should do as soon as possible.

  • Contact your physician
  • Take the steps necessary to obtain a diagnosis
  • Contact a qualified, experienced asbestos attorney