Because it can cause some serious diseases, especially over a prolonged period of exposure. There are three diseases that are triggered by inhaling asbestos fibers: asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Asbestosis is caused when asbestos fibers are inhaled and become trapped in the lungs. In response, the body tries to dissolve the fibers by producing an acid. While not destroying the fibers, the acid serves to scar the lung tissue. Eventually the scarring can become so severe that the lungs become unable to function. The time from exposure to the manifestation of asbestosis in most patients is between 25 to 40 years. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the outside tissue of the lungs. This cancer is solely linked to asbestos. The time from exposure to manifestation of mesothelioma is from 15 to 35 years. Cancer of the lungs can also be caused by exposure to asbestos. However, the chances of developing lung cancer from asbestos are greatly increased with smoking. The exposure to manifestation period for lung cancer from asbestos exposure is from 15 to 35 years.
Exposure to asbestos has been known to cause lung cancer. Studies have also linked asbestos exposure to certain gastrointestinal cancers. Asbestos exposure can also cause shortness of breath and other problems related to the respitory system.
Lots of things cause cancer much more aggressively than asbestos, but most carcinogenic things we didn’t at one time consider a miracle material that fireproofed things that we should thus integrate into every building. Older buildings are riddled with it, and while it’s safe and locked away when the other materials surround it, cracks in the material or demolition will release it into the air and expose many people. It’d be like tomorrow if we found out that copper wire causes cancer: it’s everywhere.
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