Asbestos - The Health Concerns

Asbestos inhalation can lead to death. It's that straightforward. It is quite simply the largest industrial killer in the UK with current estimates showing 4000 deaths per year.


The 2 main diseases relating to asbestos are Asbestosis and Mesothelioma. Both are types of cancer and they are only caused by asbestos. Other diseases are Lung Cancer, Pleural Plaques and Pleural Thickening.


With Asbestosis, the fibres reach the clusters of the honeycombed air sacs in the lung called alveoli. These fibres cause scar tissue to form and it is this excessive scarring that restricts the capacity of the lung and thus breathing. It is a condition resulting mainly from occupational exposure and in most cases, requires long and heavy inhalation of asbestos fibres.


Mesothelioma is currently the most prevalent asbestos related disease. With mesothelioma the fibres actually pass through the alveoli and migrate to the pleura or the lining of the chest cavity. There, they may injure the mesothelial cells and promote malignant tumours. It can take up to 40 years to be discovered following initial exposure to asbestos but nearly all victims die within a year of diagnosis.


Another worrying fact is that for smokers, the risk of contracting an asbestos related disease is multiplied by a factor of 50.


There is currently no known cure for any type of asbestos related disease.


Lung Damage