Health hazards of asbestos
Name: David J Nieder
Some people say asbestos really is not a problem. Can someone please refer me
to where I can find out about asbestos.
Asbestos is not a health problem unless it gets in your lungs. There is
research underway to determine the health effects of asbestos on other parts
of the body such as the gastrointestinal tract, but it is clear that asbestos
and healthy lungs do not mix. Look up the term "asbestosis" in any medical
dictionary. This problem was serious enough to force Johns Mansville
Corporation into bankruptcy after losing a class-action suit by ship-builders
who were knowingly exposed to asbestos in the air during World War II at a
time when the link between asbestos and lung disease was first discovered.
The company has reorganized and is now doing business as the Mansville
Corporation, and it is required by law to pay survivor's benefits.
A good booklet about asbestos and other health hazards can be bought for $0.50
- it is called "Home Buyer's Guide to Environmental Hazards" (order number
329A) from R. Woods, Consumer information center-4A PO Box 100, Pueblo, CO
Asbestos IS a problem, but it is not as much of a problem as the news media
and various civic groups think. It is unquestionably true that asbestos
causes cancer (lung cancer). It also causes scarring of the lungs that leads
to a serious respiratory disease called "asbestosis." However, the degree of
exposure necessary to cause these diseases, particularly the cancers, is not
well known and as with many other diseases, seems to vary from person to
person and with other unknown factors. Remember that asbestos is a natural
fiber, and that it is in the air everywhere (in very small concentrations).
If the concentration gets too high, there is a significant risk of disease.
In general, the mere presence of asbestos in a building is not dangerous; it
is when the asbestos is disturbed and becomes airborne that there is a hazard.
There are many publications about asbestos and its hazards.
Gary E Meyers
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Update: June 2012