What is the danger?
Asbestos is described as a hidden killer because without proper analysis, it’s very difficult to determine its presence. Asbestos fibres are extremely fine and can remain suspended in the air for hours.
Exposure is the danger
If not handled correctly, workers are in danger of inhaling asbestos-contaminated air.
If an exposure occurs, serious chronic health problems can occur. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late for corrective treatment. There is a need for you to protect yourself now.
Watch WorkSafeBC’s Asbestos video on how exposure can occur and how asbestos-related disease can develop.
Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs (pleura) and the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract (peritoneum). It is almost exclusively related to asbestos exposure and by the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal.
Asbestos-related lung cancer
Asbestos-related lung cancer looks the same as lung cancer caused by smoking and other substances. Researchers have shown that the combination of smoking tobacco and inhaling asbestos fibres greatly increase the risk of lung cancer.
Asbestosis is a serious scarring condition of the lung that normally occurs after heavy exposure to asbestos over many years. This condition can cause progressive shortness of breath, and in severe cases can be fatal.
Pleural thickening is generally a problem that happens after heavy asbestos exposure. The lining of the lung (pleura) thickens and swells. If this gets worse, the lung itself can be squeezed, and can cause shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.
Real life stories
Real life stories from both workers and their families who have been affected by the devastating consequences of mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos.