Every year, you curl up by the fireplace to watch a marathon of holiday classic films and hear Bing Crosby sing his rendition of “White Christmas” while snow delightfully falls around him. However, this movie magic moment was not as whimsically peaceful as it appears on the silver screen. The prop department used asbestos products instead of real snow, unknowingly putting Bing Crosby at risk of lung cancer and other asbestos-related health effects.
Asbestos was not only used in film production. It was a standard building material in residential homes, commercial shops, and some vehicle and bike parts. Asbestos was legal for use in Australia until 2003, meaning that if you work or live in an older building, the chances are that you and your family members are at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease.
Your crackling fireplace is the exact reason why construction workers originally installed asbestos: it is a fire-retardant product. Once we learned that asbestos-containing materials come with a severe health risk, Australia moved away from using the product. Yet, if you have not invested in asbestos removal, you may be exposed to asbestos-related diseases at this very moment.
Asbestos Watch Brisbane provides safe and thorough asbestos removal in a timely manner. When it comes to exposure to asbestos fibres, prompt removal is necessary to protect your health.
What Happens When Asbestos Enters the Body?
Inhaling asbestos increases the risk of developing several lung diseases, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and pleural plaques. Asbestos diseases are insidious because asbestos particles are microscopic and take 10-40 years to wreak havoc on your body before you start noticing symptoms, such as shortness of breath. Other symptoms of asbestos exposure include
- Chest pain
- Chronic cough
- Coughing up blood
- Unintended weight loss
- Common cold symptoms that worsen over time
Second-hand asbestos exposure is also possible if your loved one labours in construction zones and returns with the hazardous dust on their clothing. If you have reason to believe that you have breathed in asbestos, contact your doctor immediately.
What Are My Next Steps After Asbestos Exposure?
If you have accidentally unearthed asbestos during a DIY project, do not panic. A one-time exposure may not necessarily result in deadly diseases. However, if there was a significant concentrated quantity of asbestos released into the air, you still may be at risk of developing cancer later in life.
Regardless of how much asbestos you breathed in, you should seek medical attention. Typically, your doctor can assuage your fears by reassuring you that inhaling asbestos over a long period is more dangerous than a quick burst, as prolonged exposure to asbestos coats your lung tissue.
If your doctor suspects lung damage from asbestos, they will likely order a CT scan or X-ray of your chest. You may also take a pulmonary function test, which involves blowing into a spirometer to assess your lung capacity. Available treatments such as oxygen therapy may reduce your symptoms and help you breathe easier.
More intensive treatments such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy are necessary for combatting lung cancer or mesothelioma. We recommend consulting with an attorney as soon as possible if you find that you have been vulnerable to asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Watch Brisbane
Featured image source credit: asbestossafety.gov.au