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Asbestos is the material that has been manufactured from a mixture of fibrous minerals. The sub-classification of asbestos includes crocidolite, tremolite chrysotile, amosite, anthophyllite, actinolite. The most common forms of asbestos are amosite and chrysotile. Asbestos is durable and fire-resistant. It is also resistant to all major chemical breakdowns and reactions. That is the reason this material has been used for many years in industries and commercial set-ups. It is a strong material and is also resistant to heat. There are various uses of asbestos in today’s world – roofing, floor tiles, ceilings, textile products, and cement compounds. It is also used to manufacture automobile parts.
However, it has been found that asbestos can cause serious health and respiratory disorders. Moreover, it has been found to be one of the main treasons for cancers in humans. The fibers in asbestos are microscopic, thus, they pass through the respiratory system easily and cling to that. The fibers holding onto the lungs and the inner cavities tend to become lodged. They are not easily broken or expelled by the body.
Who are exposed the most, and where is it found?
Every day, hundreds of people are exposed to asbestos in some capacity or the other as it becomes released into the busy environment around it. This material is extensively used in many domestic and commercial products. Asbestos is often used in different industrial products too. There is no safe type of asbestos and there are no level that is safe. You should avoid asbestos completely. According to Belluck & Fox, the knowledge of asbestos and how it can cause diseases was known since the early 1920’s. However, it was continued to be used widely in commercial operations. Nearly everyone who was exposed to asbestos are at the risk of developing respiratory diseases.
What are the signs and symptoms of being affected by exposure to asbestos?
Asbestos causes three major types of respiratory conditions – lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.
In mesothelioma (an aggressive form of lung cancer) the symptoms include chronic cough, chest pain, effusions, and presence of blood stains in sputum.
In asbestosis, degeneration of the lungs happen. It is a long-term, non-malignant respiratory disorder.
Asbestos exposure in the New York City
In the aftermath of the fatal incident of 9/11, asbestos exposure in the New York city gathered attention. The attack on the World Trade Center released more than 4000 tons of debris and dust to the environment. As the WTO was constructed with asbestos, the expert environmentalists are looking into the possibilities of a high exposure chances to asbestos for the citizens of the New York City.
In the city people who are most exposed to the asbestos are the shipyard workers, power plant workers, and the metal workers. It has also been found that most of the New Yorkers are exposed to a significant amount of asbestos, and if you live in the city, you may be no different. There are certain job sites that are at high risk of exposure to asbestos: Brooklyn Navy Yard, Caddell Dry Dock, Astoria Powerhouse, and GMD Shipyard.
You should be careful about asbestos exposure and should stay away from the areas that are high on asbestos concentration. Become aware of public areas that may still be contaminated and avoid them.