Although the federal government now regulates asbestos use and the use of asbestos-containing products, workers may encounter this potentially dangerous mineral product in the workplace. Prolonged exposure to asbestos may result in serious lung-related diseases, including asbestosis.
Understanding what to expect from their conditions may help those who acquire asbestosis, and their families, to cope.
What causes asbestosis?
According to the American Lung Association, workers may acquire asbestosis due to exposure to substantial amounts of asbestos fibers. Breathed in, these airborne fibers may get trapped in the alveoli, causing irritation and scarring of the lung tissue.
What are the symptoms of asbestosis?
According to MayoClinic.org, exposed workers who develop asbestosis may experience wide-ranging symptoms. Some of the most common of these may include the following:
- Dry, persistent cough
- Chest tightness
- Chest pain
- Weight loss and a loss of appetite
- Clubbing of the fingers or toes
A long-term disease, people may not experience signs or symptoms of asbestosis for between 10 and 40 years after their exposure.
How can workers prevent asbestosis?
Workers may prevent acquiring asbestosis by taking certain precautions. They should take care to avoid damaging asbestos-containing materials, such as floor tiles or pipes, whenever possible. When their work may disrupt such materials, workers should closely follow their employers’ safety measures to help avoid acquiring asbestosis. Such measures may include, for example, wearing appropriate ventilation masks to avoid breathing in the potentially dangerous fibers.
Acquiring asbestosis in the workplace may send people’s lives down paths they never anticipated; however, they may receive the financial support and medical care they need through the state’s workers’ compensation program.