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Breathing air that is contaminated with asbestos dust can cause scar tissue (fibrosis) to form inside the lung. This can cause scarred lung tissue which can not expand or contract normally. The austerity of the respiratory disease depends upon the duration of exposure and the amount inhaled.

Asbestos fibres were commonly used in many industrial areas such as shipyards, asbestos mining and milling, manufacturing of asbestos textiles and other asbestos products, insulation work in the construction and building trades, brake repairs, and a variety of other trades (for further detail view Asbestos Management).

Although it is known that the risk to workers increase with heavier exposure and longer exposure time, investigators have found asbestos-related diseases in some shipyard workers exposed to high levels asbestos fibres for only brief periods (as little as 1 or 2 months) as well as workers who may not have worked directly with asbestos, but jobs were located near contaminated areas developing abestosis, mesothelioma, and other cancers associated with asbestos exposure.

General exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of several serious diseases such as:

• Asbestosis a chronic lung ailment that can produce shortness of breath and permanent lung damage and increase the risk of dangerous lung infections
• Lung cancer
• Mesothelioma that is a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and adbomen
• Other cancers, such as those relating to the larynx and gastrointestinal tract.

Symptoms develop slowly after a period of exposure which can vary from a few weeks to many years. In some cases exposure may have began so long ago that it cannot be recalled. Breathlessness occurs first and progresses as the lung loses its elasticity. There may be little or no cough and chest pains seldom occurs. The individual becomes weak and distressed on effort and, evenually, even at rest. Unless periodic medicals are introduces the diagnosis will not be made until symptoms appear. Early diagnosis is essential in order to prevent further exposure and an excarbation of the condition.


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