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Interesting Asbestos Facts

xray of lung with mesothelioma
diseased mesothelioma lung
hazard sign outside a disused asbestos mine
Asbestos mine in Quebec, Canada




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WorkSafe Victoria
Licence HO3-01793

ABN 91 146 589 152
• We do have an Australian Asbestos Exposure Standard which measures an acceptable level of asbestos fibres in a person's breathing zone. However, zall exposure is dangerous and exposure standards do not represent 'no-effect' levels at which everyone can be guaranteed adequate protection.

• Asbestos related diseases used to be seen primarily among workers in mining companies or industries that used asbestos. Health authorities have
_recently seen a big jump in cases of mesothelioma among the home renovators

• It is a myth that initial exposure can be detected by x-rays or symptoms of headaches, fever or muscle aches. There are no initial signs of exposure.
_Unfortunately, most asbestos related conditions do not exhibit symptoms until the disease is terminally advanced which prevents proper medical _treatment in the early stages

• There are numerous non cancerous conditions caused through exposure to asbestos which we hear very little about. Although these by themselves are
_not life-threatening they often lead to much more serious conditions

• Australia has the highest per capita incidence of mesothelioma in the world. It is estimated that 54,000 Australians will be effected by an asbestos
_related illness by 2020

• You are more likely to die from an asbestos related disease than a car accident

• Chance of suffering from asbestos lung disease nearly doubles in a smoker who is exposed to asbestos

• The word "asbestos" comes from a Greek word meaning inextinguishable or indestructible. Asbestos does not decompose or decay.

• The dangers of abestos have been suspected for centuries: Roman slaves who wove asbestos fibres into cloth where noted to suffer from lung

• Although Canada has banned the use of asbestos products they still actively mine asbestos in Quebec and export the white chrysotile
asbestos to zdeveloping countries such as China, Brazil, Russia and India.

There are 3 common life threatening asbestos related diseases:-
Asbestos fibres are trapped inside the lungs, this in turn causes the body to react by producing an acid to an attempt to rid itself of the fibres. Unfortunately, the acid does not effect the asbestos fibres and instead over a period of time causes severe scaring of the lungs. The lungs become stiff and thicken because of the scaring, oxygen is then restricted from passing through the lungs into the blood.

Symptons: tightness in the chest causing a shortness of breath, a dry cough, chronic fatigue, chest pain, weight loss and a bluish tinge to the skin caused by the lack of oxygen.

Timeframe from exposure to manefestation of asbestosis is generally between 25 - 40 years.

Extensive exposure to asbestos on a regular basis is required to develop asbestosis. With current regulations in Australia no one should ever find themselves in a situation in which they could develop this disease. There is no cure for asbestosis.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the outside tissue of the lungs. This cancer is solely linked to exposure to asbestos fibres. Research has been unable to determine an exposure level which may be attributed to the onset of this cancer. Therefore exposure to just one asbestos fibre potentially may result in the development of mesothelioma.

Symptoms: Difficulty in breathing, chest pain, loss of weight, may cough up blood in sputum (mucus or phlegm), difficulty swallowing and hoarse voice.

Timeframe from exposure to manifestation of mesothelioma is 15 - 35 years.

There is no proven effective cure.
Lung Cancer is the most common asbestos related disease. There are over 3 million deaths each year from lung cancer. Smoking is the No. 1 cause with asbestos exposure a close No. 2. Therefore exposure to asbestos and smoking will increase your likelihood of the manifestation of this disease.

Symptons: cough, blood in the sputum (mucus or phlegm), weight loss and chest infections.

Timeframe from exposure to manefestation of lung cancer is generally between 15 - 35 years.

Diagnosis of lung cancer in its early manifestation may be cured by surgery
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