Asbestos is the commercial name given to certain types of fibrous materials. They are silicates of varying compositions; the silica combined with such bases as Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, sodium and Aluminum. Asbestos fibers are usually from 20 to 500 m in length and 0.5 to 50m in diameter. Asbestos bodies appear as golden brown or beaded rods with a translucent center. The fibers are insoluble.
The exposure of asbestos causes fibers to be inhaled and fine dust deposited in the alveoli inside the lungs consequently causing a type of cancer called Mesothelioma (a deadly tumor) involving Mesothelial tissues or usually cells of lungs or stomach and abdominal organs.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer of the Pleura (lung cancer) and Peritoneum (abdomen cancer). Mesothelioma has been shown to have a strong association with the crocidolite variety of asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma, the most common manifestation of asbestos exposure, is well-circumscribed plaques of dense collagen, often containing calcium. Peritoneum Mesothelioma may or may not contain asbestos bodies and rarely do they occur in persons who have no history or evidence of asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma not only occurs in people who are exposed the asbestos, but also to them who had been living in vicinity to asbestos manufacturing process or those staying in asbestos contaminated buildings. In Great Britain, an association was reported between Mesothelioma and people living within 1 kilometer of an asbestos factory.
The risk of Mesothelioma is reported to be high in those cases where occupational exposure to asbestos is combined with cigarette smoking. Mesothelioma usually does not appear until after 5 to 10 years of exposure. Mesothelioma causes mechanical irritation and in the advanced cases, there may be symptoms of clubbing of fingers, and cardiac distress. The survival time of Mesothelioma patients is generally ranges from 12 months to 2 years of diagnosis and very few survive longer than 2 years.
The following measures can be useful in preventing occurrences of Mesothelioma:
• Use of safer types of asbestos (chrysolite and amosite)
• Substitution of other insulators such as glass fiber, mineral wool, calcium silicate plastic foams
• Rigorous dust control
• Periodic examination of workers such as biological monitoring (clinical, X-ray, lung function)
The government should take adequate steps and make appropriate legislation to stop or minimize the case of asbestos exposure Mesothelioma. If you or any one of your families or friends is suffering from Mesothelioma, you have the legal right to file lawsuits for getting compensation for the medical facilities, loss of income and pain. You can consult a qualified attorney for filing a Mesothelioma lawsuit for compensation.