Causes of Asbestosis

Asbestos is derived from a naturally occurring group of minerals that have heat resistant properties. In the past, asbestos was added to products in order to strengthen them, provide heat insulation and fire resistance. In most of these products, asbestos is combined with a binding material which prevents it being released into the air.

However, if asbestos becomes airborne and is inhaled, it can remain in the lungs for a long period of time, increasing the risk of severe health problems that do not appear until many years later.

Thousands of products in use today contain asbestos. Most of these are materials used in heat and acoustic insulation, fireproofing, and roofing and flooring.

Inhaling Asbestos Particles
The air that we breathe contains small particles which have to be filtered out to protect our lungs. The nose and bronchi are the main air filters for the lungs. The particles of asbestos in the air are microscopic glass like filiments which can pass straight into the lungs due to their small size. An asbestosis particle can travel deep into the lungs and become lodged in one of the alveoli.

Our immune systems will try to remove the asbestos particle, but because of its chemical constituency and its long but thin size, the alveolus can become damaged and scar tissue may form. This scarring is called fibrosis. Anybody who is exposed to asbestos in this way is likely to have inhaled hundreds or thousands of particles which can lead to widespread damage to the lungs, commonly known as asbestosis.

See also

Symptoms of asbestosis
Asbestosis compensation claims


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