When you work in certain Pennsylvania environments, you run a higher risk of asbestos exposure than the general population. Asbestos, a known carcinogen, is a name given to a set of fibers that often undergo use in commercial or industrial applications. The dangers associated with asbestos exposure were not always well-documented. However, the United States became increasingly aware of them in the late 1970s.
What professions may face a higher risk of work-related asbestos exposure, and what types of health issues does asbestos create?
Professions associated with asbestos exposure
If you work in a job that requires you to mill or manufacture asbestos, you face a high risk of developing an asbestos-related disease. The same holds true if you make your living working in demolition, construction or drywall removal. Firefighters and auto mechanics also face elevated risks when it comes to asbestos exposure. So, if you make your living in any of these areas, it is important that you understand your exposure risks and work to mitigate them accordingly.
Health risks associated with asbestos exposure
Asbestos exposure may raise your risk of developing certain cancers, including lung, stomach, pharynx and colorectal cancers. Substantial evidence has also indicated that prolonged asbestos exposure has the potential to cause mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer affecting the membranes lining the chest and the abdomen. Asbestosis, an inflammatory condition that impacts the lungs and affects breathing, is also associated with asbestos exposure.
The amount of asbestos, the duration of time you undergo exposure and whether you have preexisting conditions all help determine your level of risk when exposed to asbestos.