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how much exposure to asbestos is dangerous

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Updated: Saturday, Sep 05,2009, 4:20:19 PM
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Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals. The word asbestos (ἄ) is a borrowed Greek adjective meaning inextinguishable. The Greeks termed asbestos the miracle mineral because of its soft and pliatcmwell.com

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals. The word asbestos (ἄ) is a borrowed Greek adjective meaning inextinguishable. The Greeks termed asbestos the miracle mineral because of its soft and plia...

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals. The word   Asbestos (ἄσβεστος) is a borrowed Greek adjective meaning inextinguishable. The Greeks termed  Asbestos the miracle mineral because of its soft and pliant properties, as well as its ability to withstand heat.
Asbestos can be toxic. The inhalation of   Asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses, including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis). Since the mid 1980s, the European Union and most developed countries have banned   Asbestos .[citation needed].
For environmental samples one must normally resort to electron microscopy for positive identification. [1] However today gravimetric and PCM/PLM techniques are employed, which cannot readily identify the smallest, most hazardous, fibers. These techniques being limited to PM10 particulate size evaluation which completely ignores UFPs.
  Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century because of its resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage, sound absorption and tensile strength. When   Asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibers are often mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats.   Asbestos was used in some products for its heat resistance, and in the past was used on electric oven and hotplate wiring for its electrical insulation at elevated temperature, and in buildings for its flame-retardant and insulating properties, tensile strength, flexibility, and resistance to chemicals.



There are two main dangers from   Asbestos :
Asbestosis, which damages the lungs, requires exposure to large amounts of the dust over time. This might be seen in miners or asbestos-product factory workers, but is very unlikely in the situation you describe.
  Asbestos is also able to cause cancer [a carcinogen], though it is probably no more dangerous than smoking. [BTW, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure is _far_ more dangerous than either alone. If your husband or you smoke, this is another reason to quit.]
Since the FDA considers exposure to _any_ amount of a carcinogen [except aflatoxin] bad, the dust exposure is not good, BUT, considering that it was just for a short time, there is little likelihood of any ill effect.
You might think about legal action against the company that performed the work, if asbestos removal was specifically mentioned in an agreement [or they might contemplate action against you if you had not warned them].
Check with your family doctor, who might suggest a chest X-ray every few years.

the most common type of   Asbestos , chrysotile, is perfectly harmless. It's the two other, less common, types, crocidolite and amosite, are the ones that cause the problems and it does not take much exposure to dust from these minerals to cause cancer. However, since there is a huge difference in the risk from the different types of asbestos, you should ask what type of asbestos you have been exposed to before you start panicking. Odds are it is the harmless type.


According to the national safety council, the very moment you breath in invisible   Asbestos fibers at high levels you have an increased risk for cancer. Take a look at this excerpt from the official website:
What Are the Health Effects?
The most dangerous asbestos fibers are too small to be visible. They can become airborne when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or during improper removal. Once they are inhaled, the fibers can remain and accumulate in the lungs. Breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma (a cancer of the chest and abdominal linings), and asbestosis (irreversible lung scarring that can be fatal). The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increases with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer is also greater to people who smoke. Symptoms of these diseases do not show up until many years after exposure begins. Most people with asbestos-related diseases were exposed to elevated concentrations on the job.

Tags: Asbestos Exposure dangerous

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