Asbestos Types and Risks

Asbestos Types and Risks

Asbestos is a group of six cancer causing silicate minerals that can be found throughout the world. When people inhale this mineral’s fibers, they can enter the body and lead to many different cancers including mesothelioma, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and laryngeal cancer. The six types of asbestos include actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, tremolite, and chrysotile. Chrysotile asbestos is the only member of the serpentine family, which means the fibers are curly. The rest are amphibole, meaning their fibers are straight. Amphibole asbestos fibers are more dangerous because they can more easily become lodged in people’s soft tissue, but chrysotile asbestos is still very dangerous and is the largest cause of mesothelioma because many people were exposed to it.

Asbestos has been used in various products because it is heat resistant and cheap. It is also fireproof, leading to many different companies using it to prevent fires and protect employees from extreme heat.  Chrysotile is the most popular form of asbestos, making up 90 to 95 percent of the asbestos used in buildings is the United States. Chrysotile can be found in asphalt, brake pads, roofing materials, rubber, textiles, and many other products.

When people inhale asbestos fibers, many of them can be removed after being trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. The fibers are very strong, so it is hard for the body to break them down to remove them. After the fibers bypass the body’s protection measures, they stay in the person’s different tissues causing changes in affected cells, making them cancerous. People can also ingest asbestos, leading to esophageal, laryngeal, and colorectal cancers.

There is a chance that people can get cancer after one exposure to asbestos, but it is more likely people exposed to higher amounts of the substance will develop a cancer like lung cancer or mesothelioma. People who smoke and were exposed to asbestos are also at a greater risk of developing lung cancer. The cigarette smoke and asbestos have a synergistic effect, meaning they work together to increase their cancer-causing effects. People exposed to asbestos who smoke are 90 times more likely to develop lung cancer, which is why smokers who were exposed to asbestos should quit smoking immediately.

Were you exposed to asbestos and now have mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another type of cancer? You could be entitled to compensation. Contact us using our contact form or by calling 412-471-3980. We will do whatever we can to help.

“Types of Asbestos That Can Cause Asbestos Diseases” Penn Medicine Abramson Cancer Center [Link]
“When is Asbestos Dangerous?” Oregon State University [Link]

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