For several decades, asbestos was used as a fire-retardant material. Asbestos was an easily obtainable mineral with flexible fibers that could resist heat, corrosion and electricity. Once upon a time, consumers could find asbestos in everything from house insulation, tiles, paint, wallpaper and pipes to clothing, furniture, makeup and toys. It practically seemed like anything that didn’t have asbestos wasn’t worth buying.
Today, it’s commonly known that asbestos is a highly dangerous mineral. While it’s not banned in the United States, there are regulations that limit what it can be used in. Why did such a commonly used product become highly regulated? It’s because asbestos can cause many medical illnesses.
When asbestos is damaged and broken down, asbestos fibers can contaminate the air. When inhaled, asbestos can get trapped inside the lungs. Over time, those fibers will cut and scar the lungs, which can eventually lead to mesothelioma and lung cancer. People typically develop symptoms before they realize they’ve been exposed to asbestos. Here’s what you should know:
Shortness of breath, coughing and chest pains
It can take years before victims realize they’ve been exposed to asbestos. Many people are exposed to asbestos but never develop any symptoms because the exposure was minimal. People who have experienced long-term asbestos exposure are more likely to have symptoms of asbestos exposure such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Dry coughs
- Chest tightness and pain
- Clubbing toes and fingers
Many people are still at risk of asbestos exposure, such as roof workers, plumbers and railroad workers. If you believe that you’re a victim of asbestos exposure, then your life could be on the line. You may need to reach out for legal help to learn what to do next.