Asbestos in You: The Impact of Asbestos on the Body

Man pressing his middle part of the chestCheap costs and lack of study once resulted in the unfettered use of asbestos in buildings across Australia prior to the toxic material being phased out in the late 80’s. The Australian government, in turn, declared an outright ban on asbestos in 2003. As more and more old buildings are held to higher health standards, asbestos-related illnesses are on the decline, to date.

According to EOSH Consulting, an environmental consultancy that specializes in asbestos removal in Perth, asbestos is a proven, deadly carcinogenic. While Mesothelioma (an aggressive form of lung cancer) is the most widely-known effect of asbestos, other health risks exist as well. Here are a few health risks associated with asbestos.

Pleural Plaque

As the asbestos fibers are released into the air and inhaled, these build up and can cause non-cancerous abnormalities, or pleura, in the chest cavity. One of these abnormalities is Pleural Plaque. Pleural Plaque is an accumulation of fibrous or partially calcified tissue in the lungs. If left untreated, pleural plaque can lead to pleural thickening, which impairs lung function.

Diffuse Pleural Thickening

Diffuse Pleural Thickening, or DPT, is a condition in which lung tissue has thickened and calcified, thereby impairing overall lung functions such as capacity and vitality. DPT is particularly dangerous because it develops 20 to 40 years after first exposure to asbestos. DPT can cause acute chest pain and can be difficult to spot early on.

Folded Lung Syndrome

Rounded Atelectasis, or Folded Lung Syndrome, happens when the lung collapses because of the thickening and calcification of tissue caused by asbestos fibres in the lungs. In X-rays, Folded Lung Syndrome can be mistaken for a tumor. While Folded Lung Syndrome is the least common asbestos-related illness, Rounded Atelectasis can still affect people suffering from asbestos exposure.

While no longer allowed in the country, the threat of asbestos to your health still lingers on in older buildings. Before moving or investing in property, make sure that the proper authorities have cleared any structure of asbestos.