Thursday, November 27, 2008

Asbestos Health Effects

Asbestos is the name given to a number of naturally occurring fibrous minerals with high tensile strength, the ability to be woven, and resistance to heat and most chemicals. Because of these properties, asbestos fibers have been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, including roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper and cement products, textiles, coatings, and friction products such as automobile clutch, brake and transmission parts. The current federal definition of asbestos is the asbestiform varieties of: chrysotile (serpentine); crocidolite (riebeckite); amosite (cummingtonite/grunerite); anthophyllite; tremolite; and actinolite.

What are the health effects of asbestos exposure?
If you are exposed to a substance such as asbestos, many factors will determine whether harmful health effects will occur and what the type and severity of those health effects will be. These factors include the dose (how much), the duration (how long), how often, the route or pathway from which you are exposed (breathing, eating, drinking, or skin contact), your individual characteristics such as age, gender, nutritional status, family traits, life-style, and state of health, and other chemicals to which you are exposed, such as cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoking works synergistically with asbestos exposure to greatly increase your chance of getting lung cancer. The greater the total exposure to asbestos, the greater the chance you will become ill. Some experts believe that there is no definite safe exposure level for asbestos. The best way to protect yourself is to limit your exposure as much as possible.

The size and shape of the asbestos fibre appear to play a major role in the toxicity, as both affect the capacity of the lung to effectively remove them from the body. Asbestosis is related to the number of shorter, thicker fibres, whereas mesothelioma and lung cancer are related to longer thinner fibres . Chrysotile fibres (white asbestos) are generally < 5 μm whereas crocidolite (blue asbestos), amosite, anthophyllite and tremolite fibres are approximately 5 – 10 μm. It is recognized that chrysotile is generally less potent than amosite or crocidolite

Acute exposure to asbestos fibres does not produce immediate acute effects other than some irritancy of skin, eyes and lungs with high concentrations. Temporary breathing difficulties have been reported in individuals exposed to high concentrations of asbestos dust

Short-term high level exposure to asbestos has been associated with lung cancer, mesothelioma and pleural disorders such as pleural plaques although risks are likely to be very lowMost health effects caused by asbestos occur after a latent period following exposure. Asbestos is carcinogenic by inhalation, and does not produce acute effects, but lung toxicity (the target organ) may be manifest after many years. Clinical manifestations often occur approximately 30 years after the first exposure. However, the risks of serious long-term health effects from a single exposure are judged to be very low. Exposure to asbestos increases your risk of developing lung disease. That risk is made worse by smoking. In general, the greater the exposure to asbestos, the greater the chance of developing harmful health effects. Disease symptoms may take several years to develop following exposure. If you are concerned about possible exposure, consult a physician who specializes in lung diseases.

Footnote:
Here are the results found in Google
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ATSDR - Asbestos - Health Effects
30 Oct 2008 ... Health effects from asbestos exposure may continue to progress even after exposure is stopped. Smoking or cigarette smoke, together with ...
www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/asbestos/health_effects/ - 27k - Cached - Similar pages
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ATSDR - Asbestos Home Page
29 Oct 2008 ... Asbestos and Your Health – Overview about types of asbestos exposure, health effects, and what people should do if they are concerned about ...
www.atsdr.cdc.gov/Asbestos/ - 18k - Cached - Similar pages
More results from www.atsdr.cdc.gov »
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Basic Information | Asbestos | US EPA
Three of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure include: ... For more information on these and other health effects of asbestos exposure ...
www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/help.html - 26k - Cached - Similar pages
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Asbestos | Technology Transfer Network Air Toxics Web site | US EPA
Effects on the lung are a major health concern from asbestos, as chronic (long- term) exposure to asbestos in humans via inhalation can result in a lung ...
www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/asbestos.html - 22k - Cached - Similar pages
More results from www.epa.gov »
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What are the possible health effects of asbestos
12 Nov 2008 ... Asbestos can cause health effects if fibres are breathed into the lungs. Most fibres are removed from your lungs by your body’s natural ...
www.health.qld.gov.au/asbestos/about_asbestos/health_effects.asp - 17k - Cached - Similar pages
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Asbestos and Health Effects
27 Sep 2008 ... Answers to the questions on how asbestos effects your health. 1. What is asbestos? Asbestos is a group of natural minerals that occur as ...
www.air.ky.gov/FAQ/Asbestos+and+Health+Effects.htm - 20k - Cached - Similar pages
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Workers Health Centre Fact Sheet - Asbestos
4 Jun 2005 ... Health effects of asbestos exposure. There are four major health ... The health effects of asbestos strike at smokers and non-smokers alike. ...
www.workershealth.com.au/facts031.html - 24k - Cached - Similar pages
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Asbestos: Health Effects - Minnesota Dept. of Health
23 May 2008 ... If exposed to asbestos, many factors contribute to whether harmful health effects will occur. These factors include: ...
www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/asbestos/homeowner/heffects.html - 26k - Cached - Similar pages
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HSE Health and Safety in .. Industry
People who may have been exposed to asbestos are understandably anxious and concerned about the possible effects on their health. ...
www.hse.gov.uk/lau/lacs/5-19.htm - 53k - Cached - Similar pages
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Asbestos: Selected Health Effects - Institute of Medicine
this committee will comprehensively review, evaluate, and summarize the peer- reviewed scientific and medical literature regarding the association between ...
www.iom.edu/CMS/3793/27822.aspx - 26k - Cached - Similar pages

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