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Health Effects of Exposure to Asbestos

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The human health effects from long-term unsafe exposure to asbestos have been well documented. Exposure to asbestos typically occurs in occupational settings and within homes throughout the U.S. and Canada.


Asbestos exposure is dangerous because it can cause scarring of the lungs making breathing more difficult. Asbestos fibres are easily inhaled and they continue to break down within the lower regions of the lungs.


Prolonged exposure can lead to asbestosis. Other diseases caused by asbestos exposure include mesothelioma, lung cancer and pleural disease.


The latency period for symptoms to start appearing range from 10-50 years. Factors such as intensity, frequency and duration of exposure impact the latency period. Those who work in mining or construction are more prone to asbestos exposure.

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