If you’ve been a part of the construction industry, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard or even had firsthand encounter with asbestos. After all, despite being labeled toxic to humans in the late 1930s, some firms continued the use of this mineral in small and developing countries. Eventually, behind years of research and clinical studies, countries started to ban or strictly regulate the use of the mineral due to its carcinogenic and toxic properties. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have even condemned its use.
However, the adverse effects of asbestos can take years to progress before they can be distinguished. Thus, year after year, thousands end up being diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other complications caused by earlier exposure to the mineral.
The Adverse Effects and Symptoms of Asbestos-related Diseases
In most cases, the effects of asbestos aren’t identifiable until 10 to 40 years after initial contact. Asbestos fibers are practically invisible to the naked eye, which is why a lot of workers can go on for years without ever realizing they are affected. In addition, family members of those who worked with asbestos also face risks through secondary exposure.
Here are the usual symptoms of asbestosis, one of the most common conditions caused by asbestos:
- shortness of breath
- tightness in your chest
- persistent dry cough
- chest pain
- appetite loss
- finger clubbing (enlarged fingertips)
- nail deformities
Though not fatal, the leading illness brought by asbestos is called pleural effusion. Pleural effusion is a fluid buildup between protective which can develop in as little as one year after exposure. This effusion is not fatal but makes breathing difficult and may also show symptom of mesothelioma.
Serious Illnesses Caused by Asbestos
Asbestos-related lung cancer is one of the most feared effects of being thoroughly exposed to asbestos. When fibers of the mineral are inhaled, it can cause irritation, inflammation, and damage to our lung tissues, which can then lead to the formation of cancerous tumors. This asbestos disease is most common in those that were exposed to asbestos and were also smokers. The gestation period typically ranges from 15 to 35 years.
In addition, asbestos is also known to cause gastrointestinal cancer. The symptoms of this condition include characteristic shortness of breath, fatigue, appetite loss, and abdominal pain.
Addressing Environmental and Health Hazards
Employees in construction sites inevitably deal with all sorts of chemicals and minerals throughout their tenure. To minimize risks associated with their jobs, companies must remember that maintaining a healthy and hazard-free working environment always goes back to making sure that everyone is involved in the cause.
As an organization, the most efficient way to address matters concerning workplace health and safety is providing the staff with sufficient Environmental Health and Safety training that will lead them to a long and sustainable career. In turn, the readiness and new found confidence of each employee should contribute to the long-term success of the company and help establish its commitment to observe existing industry standards and regulations. Visit 360training.com today to see which training program is the perfect fit for your workforce.