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How small are asbestos fibers?

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2022 | Mesothelioma

asbestos under microscope

Asbestos particles generally arrange themselves into fibers. Some of these are curled, while others are straight. But looking at pictures of these fibers shows you what to expect if you find asbestos embedded in rock or used in insulation, tile or something of this nature.

But these pictures can be a bit deceiving because they are usually taken under a microscope. The truth is that asbestos fibers are small enough that they are typically invisible to the naked eye. These fibers are sometimes described as being long and thin, but it’s all relative at that point. For the most part, they’re never long enough that you could simply see them on your own.

Why this is a problem

The size of asbestos particles is a significant problem for numerous reasons. For one thing, the small size is what allows them to be inhaled without a person’s knowledge. They can then become trapped in the lungs and lead to mesothelioma or other complications. It can be very difficult or impossible to remove these fibers. They can become embedded in the tissue surrounding the lungs. 

The size is also problematic because it means that a lot of people are exposed without having any idea that it’s happening, as they cannot see, smell or taste asbestos. The particles are simply too small for your normal senses to warn you that there’s any danger until you’ve already been exposed.

What this means is that a lot of people don’t find out about the exposure until they’ve already developed mesothelioma. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to know what legal steps to take.


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