Most people are familiar with asbestos. It's one of the first things that comes to mind in regard to workplace hazards. Asbestos was a common material used in insulation and flame retardant materials prior to it being regulated, including being banned in many instances, in 1989.
However, asbestos is still prevalent, and some workers are frequently exposed to asbestos. Even with proper safety gear, asbestos can cause harm to the body. One of the most common issues from long-term asbestos exposure is mesothelioma.
The only good news about mesothelioma is that the disease is rare. It is a form of cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs and other organs. It is aggressive and, in most cases, fatal. Its common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal bloating and lumps
Having these symptoms does not mean you have mesothelioma. However, if you are experiencing these issues, you should consult with a doctor, especially if you work around asbestos.
It is important to note that being exposed to small amounts of asbestos probably will not harm you. Most people have encountered asbestos in their lives, but the exposure has been minimal.
Prolonged exposure, however, does pose a risk. Anyone who has worked extensively with asbestos may have a higher risk of mesothelioma. Some examples include:
- Construction workers
- Shipyard workers
- Drywall removers
- Demolition workers
- Automobile mechanics
- Military personnel
Luckily, with the current rules and regulations, we see fewer cases of mesothelioma. However, we do still see them. The disease is dangerous and aggressive, and something anyone who is exposed to asbestos should know about.