What disease has been attributed to asbestos exposure?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction, shipbuilding, and manufacturing. It was valued for its durability, heat resistance and insulating properties. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that we realized just how dangerous this substance is when airborne fibers are inhaled.

In this article, we will explore the various diseases caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, as well as some important facts about asbestos and its dangers.

What is Asbestos?

Before diving into the deadly diseases caused by asbestos exposure let’s answer one basic question – what exactly is asbestos?

Asbestos refers to a group of six fibrous minerals — chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite — with specific physical properties such as high tensile strength, flexibility and resistance to chemical damage.

It was primarily used for insulation purposes because of these unparalleled qualities. However due to its hazardous nature when disturbed or broken-down (e.g., during remodeling or demolition activities), inhalation of microfibers can lead individuals exposed over long periods expanding vulnerability than can develop resulting health problems many years after initial contact with the material.

Respiratory Diseases Caused by Asbestos Exposure

The severity of respiratory illnesses linked with inhaling fiber-resistant particulates spans from mild allergic reactions including coughing spells & allergies that clear up on their own within only several weeks through chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder irritating patients’ airways culminating in severe responses manifesting lung cancer & mesothelioma affecting pleural tissue lining lungs vis-a-vis breathing difficulties making everyday life excruciatingly painful.

Due complications often manifest only many years later – sometimes even decades- there continues being a discernible latency period before symptoms show up sometimes stretching longer than thirty-five years following initial exposure.


Mesothelioma is the most common disease associated with asbestos exposure, which falls under the category of ‘cancer.’

It develops in the lining of organs known as mesothelium. The three types of mesothelioma corresponding to the chest tissue near lungs (pleural), stomach / diaphragm region (peritoneal) and heart tissues (pericardial). Pleural mesotheliomas often cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, and weight loss.

Once diagnosed it carries extremely poor prognosis measures primarily due to difficulty isolating tumor from surrounding supportive & protective tissues making excision challenging alongside typically being asymptomatic until well into advanced stages.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer occurs when malignant cells start dividing abnormally resulting in tumorous growths whereupon treatment requires extensive chemo or radiation therapy even intensive through-hole surgery usually necessary during cases where tumors have spread rapidly throughout either lung lobes impacting normal breathing functions independently.


Asbestos fibers induce an inflammatory response among lung tissue leading to scarring over many years eventually causing intense breathing difficulties manifesting outwardly restrictive lifestyle changes increasingly consequential struggles just doing day-to-day activities whose diversifying manifestations may require supplemental tide-over oxygen via nasal cannulas/ masks once further exacerbated.

Asbestosis differs from other illnesses linked with asbestos accumulation by being directly related to fiber buildup alone vis-a-vis chronic inflammation inducing periodontal structures within already-stressed bronchioles culminating critical inhibition on internal airflow both a limitation toward quality-of-life problems individually autonymously & exacerbation contributing toward increasing pleuritic symptomology onset following previous contact chronically exposed individuals experience (e.g., demolition team members operating inside aging buildings containing excess amounts/storages but lacking proper protective equipment.)

Who are At-Risk for Asbestos Exposure?

  • Construction Workers: Construction workers like Plumbers, Electricians, Boilermakers amongst others had a higher chance of being exposed to asbestos until it widespread use has been outlawed since the 80s. The nature of their work conducted such as drilling, installing insulation & renovations put them at an increased risk for inhaling fibrous residuals.
  • Shipbuilders: Similarly ship builders then using compressed air along with hydro-blasting procedures led to high amounts of particulate airborne concentration in living quarters causing harm to sailors over extended deployments who were otherwise generally unexposed on land-based installations.
  • Factory Workers: Factory workers often responsible solely or contributing heavily toward process systematisations like spinning/blowing processes throughout manufacturing textile materials despite hazardous material warnings situated above and around workstations making it challenging preventing inhalation during prolonged periods.


Asbestos exposure can lead to severe respiratory illnesses whose symptoms may take years – even decades till emergence! Awareness about the types of diseases caused by this dangerous mineral is crucial alongside avoiding contact wherever possible. However for those already fallen prey prevention remains better than treatment because although medical science continues making strides no definitive cure yet exists allowing healthcare professionals towards guarantee relapse will not manifest especially given sometimes asymptomatic presenting pathologically atypical morphological variations expressions contribute uniquely towards multifactorial cascades causing multiple-pathway-divergence overarching our knowledge relating causality mindsets oriented whole-person approaches at honest healing more complete ones that treat both body/mind simultaneously instead abstracting one from another facet first out which denies current scientific understanding/holistic frameworks catering what human beings need most.

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