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Who is at risk of asbestos exposure?

Who is at risk of asbestos exposure?

If someone inhales or swallows asbestos particles, they risk getting various diseases including cancer which could lead to lifelong health conditions or death. While any asbestos exposure can cause adverse health effects, those that are exposed to it over long-term are at the greatest risk of suffering severe consequences.
Who is at risk of asbestos exposure?
January 08, 2022

Who is likely to come into contact with asbestos regularly?

Today asbestos is not as used as widely as before. While everyone is at risk of contact, the following people who work in construction or related fields are likely to come in contact more often.

  1. Electricians
  2. Building Cleaners
  3. Plumbers
  4. Carpenters
  5. Welders
  6. Roofing contractors
  7. Mechanics
  8. Engineers

Others who may be prone to asbestos exposure due to the environments that they find themselves in are.

  1. Old Age Home residents
  2. Medical doctors and staff
  3. Dentists
  4. Teachers

What causes asbestos-related diseases?

Asbestos-related conditions result when tiny fibres from the substance accumulates in the lungs. The longer you are exposed to asbestos, the more likely you are to develop a condition. Generally, the longer that you are exposed to asbestos, the greater your chances of developing a related condition. People who live in areas of high airborne asbestos are also at risk.

Of all the conditions caused by asbestos, asbestos related lung cancer causes the most deaths, followed by mesothelioma. About 90% of mesothelioma cases are caused by asbestos exposure, according to the American National Cancer Institute. Thousands of people continue to be ill-affected by asbestos exposure every year.


How are asbestos related diseases detected?

Asbestos in itself is unlikely to cause issue. It becomes a major health risk when the asbestos breaks down into smaller particles and comes into contact with the body.

Individuals who have come into contact with asbestos or suspect that they have done so should inform their doctor about their exposure history and whether they experienced any symptoms. Symptoms of asbestos exposure may actually not develop until decades after initial exposure.

The following are common symptoms of asbestos exposure:

  1. A shortness of breath of wheezing
  2. A cough that gets worse as time progresses
  3. Blood in the sputum
  4. Pain in the chest
  5. Difficulty swallowing
  6. Loss of appetite
  7. Severe weight loss

Should you suspect that something ill has been caused to your health through asbestos exposure, it is advisable to conduct a chest x-ray and lung function tests. The chest x-ray is currently the best way to detect asbestos-related diseases. While chest x-rays cannot detect asbestos particles in the lungs, they can assist in identifying the early signs of lung disease that result from asbestos exposure.


Does smoking complicate asbestos risk?

Studies have shown that smoking and asbestos exposure is dangerous. Smokers who are exposed to asbestos have a greater chance of receiving lung cancer. There is also evidence which suggests that quitting smoking can reduce the risk of lung cancer among asbestos exposed workers.

While smoking may not increase the chances of mesothelioma when combined with asbestos exposure, it is advisable for people who are exposed to asbestos to not smoke.


Online Asbestos Awareness Training

Our online Asbestos Awareness Training course has been designed for anyone who works with, or might potentially come into contact with asbestos at work. The two sections that make up the course cover key areas surrounding asbestos awareness, and practical steps to avoid/reduce the dangers of asbestos.


The course, which can be completed in as little as 30 minutes, provides the user with a printable certificate upon completion of the end-of-course test.

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