Asbestos
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Auto Mechanics - Mesothelioma Risks

Asbestos exposure most commonly occurs in the workplace. This is mainly because of the fact that undisturbed asbestos poses no health risk whatsoever. So, the asbestos that is in place in homes, schools, and office buildings is safe for the residents, students, and workers in these structures, permitting they do not disrupt the structures in any way. However, if this asbestos becomes friable - easily crumbled and turned into dust - it's tiny fibers can become airborne and pose a health risk to anyone in the building.

Asbestos is a very hazardous material. It has been shown to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis - the scarring of the lung tissue due to exposure to asbestos fibers. Around ninety percent of all cases of mesothelioma have been caused by asbestos exposure. The other ten percent of cases are suspected of being caused by asbestos, but remain unconfirmed.

Fortunately, asbestos is a relatively durable material. It rarely becomes friable for no reason, and the ways that it does become friable are, for the most part, preventable. Anyone who is around asbestos simply has to avoid disturbing it, and they should be safe. Those working with asbestos should also keep an eye on the asbestos-containing material to ensure that it is not deteriorating due to age or bad conditions. Deteriorating asbestos also has the possibility of becoming airborne.

There are many occupations, however, that require employees to disturb asbestos-containing materials. Often a worker can not avoid disturbing asbestos - doing so might result in shoddy workmanship and a lost job. This is why most cases of mesothelioma come from asbestos exposure that occurred while working.

One group of workers who are at risk of asbestos exposure is auto mechanics. This is because several car parts are made with asbestos. Since the material is so durable and has such good resistance to high temperatures, it is often used in friction-bearing parts. Brake and clutch pads have historically used asbestos as a large component. Since auto mechanics have to handle, install, and repair these parts, they have a high risk of being exposed to deadly asbestos fibers.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that most often affects the lining of the lungs known as the mesothelium. When airborne, asbestos can easily be inhaled or swallowed. Once in the airway, asbestos fibers can lodge themselves in the lungs and the mesothelium. The fibers damage this lining and cause uncontrolled growth to occur. This growth can result in a deadly tumor that invades and interferes with otherwise healthy organs, such as the heart and lungs. Symptoms of mesothelioma include difficulty breathing, pain in the lower back and chest, and a dry, persistent cough.

If you believe that you have been exposed to asbestos at some point during your career, it is important for you to discuss your health with a doctor. Mesothelioma is a very deadly disease and, for the most part, its symptoms don't begin to display themselves until it is already too late to treat. The prognosis for the cancer is therefore very poor. Still, as with any cancer, early detection can dramatically improve a prognosis and make treatments much more effective.

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Workers at Risk for Asbestos Exposure

Below are a list of occupations and trades that were at risk for asbestos exposure:

Last Edited: Thu November 14, 2013