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Everything to Know About Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Breathing in dust is unpleasant – but – breathing in asbestos dust is worse. It might not be so obvious from the start – but – the consequences can be quite serious. Over time, repeated exposure can be fatal. Every year, hundreds of workers die of an illness that is caused by contact with asbestos. 

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As a construction professional, you should already be familiar with how to avoid and control the potential risk of injury from exposure to asbestos dust. 

Consequences of Exposure to Asbestos Dust 

Exposure to asbestos dust can have serious consequences, such as the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Cough
  • Mesothelioma
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Death 

Nonetheless, there are several ways you can prevent the harmful consequences. 

How Can You Get Exposed to Asbestos?

Exposure to asbestos dust is considered zero tolerance. In the past, asbestos was used as insulation in a number of materials in homes, such as gypsum panels, suspended ceiling panels, stucco, pipe-insulating materials, wall insulation, and vinyl floor tiles.

You get the general idea: asbestos was used in a lot of materials. Asbestos is friable, which means that as soon as one handles, cuts, or drills into any of these materials – one risks breathing in asbestos dust. The good news is that one can properly plan their job site to prevent breathing in asbestos.

You should never take any chances and ensure you call a specialist to come and perform an analysis of where the work is going to be done. This sort of analysis is specifically crucial when you are about to indulge in a DIY project at home. 

Opt for an Analysis by a Professional 

The analysis will determine the presence of asbestos and the level of risk associated with each task. Once you have the analysis by the professional, you can now get to work. Depending on the level of risk, the appropriate preventive measures are put in place, such as wearing protective equipment, managing waste, controlling emissions, and controlling access to the working area.

It is important to mention here that it is the level of each task that determines what preventive measures you need to implement. Also, if you work in the presence of asbestos, you must be properly trained. 

Beware the Symptoms of Mesothelioma 

If you work at a construction site where you believe to be exposed to harmful substances, you should know the symptoms of mesothelioma. 

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the thin layer of tissue that surrounds the organs. To recognize the disease, you can self-assess your body. You will need the following:

  • Recognition of symptoms
  • Doctor’s appointment
  • Treatment

Assess the Risk Level

Mesothelioma usually presents symptoms in people who have been exposed to asbestos over a long period of time. In most cases, the symptoms may not appear at all until three or more decades have passed after the exposure. 

Types of Mesothelioma

There are two types of mesothelioma. The first type is the pleural malignant mesothelioma which affects the tissues around the lungs, known as pleura. Rare forms of mesothelioma affect the tissue around the heart, abdomen, and testicles. 

Take Notice of Symptoms

You should take notice of chest pain, painful coughing, shortness of breath, strange lumps and tissues underneath the chest skin, and unexplained weight loss. All of these aspects can be potential symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. 

Take Notice of Pain

Subsequently, you should take notice of abdominal pain, swelling, unexplained weight loss, and the presence of lumps under the skin of your abdomen that could indicate peritoneal mesothelioma or mesothelioma in the abdomen. 

Notice Bowel Movement

The next step is to take notice of bowel obstruction or blood clotting issues, as these are common symptoms of mesothelioma. 

Make an Appointment with Your Doctor

After you have examined yourself and you are sure you have symptoms of mesothelioma, the next step is to call the doctor’s office and make an appointment. Take a list of your symptoms and any medications that you are taking so that your doctor knows what is going on. 

The doctor is more likely to take a biopsy of your tissue and test it to identify mesothelioma. 

Get Treated

For many – there is no cure for mesothelioma. You might have the option of getting surgery and removing any tissue, cancer, or fluids around the lungs. Radiation, chemotherapy, and drugs are used to treat the cancer and lower the pain to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. 

Hire a Lawyer

If you have been unknowingly exposed to asbestos, you might as well hire a lawyer for personal injury. If you reside in San Francisco, you might have been exposed to this harmful substance over a long period of time. Check out the mesothelioma causes in San Francisco and understand that a person has to be exposed to asbestos over a long time to develop an asbestos-related illness.

Nonetheless, once you know that you are suffering from mesothelioma, getting a lawyer on board will help you explain your rights and options regarding the legal and financial aspects of your illness. They can ensure that you receive financial compensation from the responsible organization, which can help you manage your healthcare costs. 

Can You Prevent Mesothelioma?

The prevention of mesothelioma really means minimizing risk factors. With lung cancer, you can minimize it tremendously by smoking cessation strategies. With mesothelioma – given that the major risk factor is asbestos exposure, the best way to minimize it is to control the exposure in the workplace and elsewhere. 

Proper protective equipment, such as respirators, should be worn, and containment protocols should be followed. You will also want to avoid take-home exposures. Workers who have occupations involving asbestos, such as construction, insulation, or shipbuilding, are at a higher risk. 

Minimizing Exposure is Key 

Minimizing the potential exposure to asbestos is critical. Another risk factor is radiation to the chest – although – it is uncommon. So, the most important prevention strategy is to avoid the asbestos exposure. The key is to avoid inhaling asbestos fibers as these fibers can become airborne easily and once these are inhaled – they can become trapped in the lungs and mesothelium. 

Despite the fact that asbestos usage has declined over the 20th century, it is still present in many older building materials, such as insulation, ceiling, and floor tiles. 

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