Breathing Asbestos Comes From Many Sources
Although we have known about asbestos for centuries, the dangers of breathing asbestos has only become public knowledge in recent years. No one gave a second thought to asbestos disease—or even knew of its existence. Since many of the symptoms of asbestos exposure mimic those of other diseases there was nothing to link breathing asbestos to those diseases. There were other more prominent things such as fumes from factories and exhaust from car engines that were blamed for diseases such as mesothelioma—these diseases were later linked to breathing asbestos. Sadly for many people researchers were unaware of the asbestos health effects until the 20th century, and even then it took many years before mesothelioma was linked to asbestos exposure.
Dangers of Breathing Asbestos – Incubation Period
Why did it take so long for anyone to discover the dangers of breathing asbestos? One of the biggest problems was the incubation period for mesothelioma—20-50 years following exposure. In addition those cases that involved family members who were not directly exposure to asbestos made it more difficult. Like cigarette smoking, it took many years for experts to acknowledge that breathing asbestos was not the only way for someone to develop asbestos disease. In recent years there have been other developments that affect health as well such as breathing mold, especially black mold. While breathing asbestos is likely to be the most serious substance that people breathe (compared to breathing lead, mold and even air pollution), it is certainly not the only cause of mesothelioma and other asbestos related cancers.
Dangers of Breathing Asbestos – What are the sources?
If a person is not breathing asbestos, how can he or she develop asbestos disease? Some researchers believe family members who wash the clothing of those who work around asbestos are at high risk of suffering from asbestos exposure. Up until knowledge about asbestos health effects became public many home shingles were made of asbestos as was insulation. Other high risk groups were those who lived in places where asbestos was a natural substance and those who were at risk of breathing asbestos because they lived near asbestos mines. Schools were forced to remove asbestos from roofing and other materials after the dangers of breathing asbestos became public knowledge.
The problem we must face now is being able to develop early testing in order to increase the lifespan of those who develop asbestos disease. At the present time the effects of breathing asbestos take so long as note in a previous paragraph that by the time mesothelioma is diagnosed there is little chance of prolonged survival even with chemotherapy and surgery. We need to do more to prevent everyone from breathing asbestos and being faced with risking asbestos disease.
While there are efforts to reduce the incidences of asbestos disease, there is little being done to reduce asbestos exposure for those who live in regions where it is an environmental issue rather than workplace or home issue. Another problem that exists with asbestos exposure is there is little exposure needed for a person to develop mesothelioma. At the same time most people who are diagnosed have been working for decades breathing asbestos particles and fumes.