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What Is Asbestosis?

Asbestosis is a scarring of the lungs that leads to breathing problems and heart failure. It is caused by exposure to asbestos. Workers who manufacture asbestos products often develop asbestosis. Workers who use asbestos products and have high exposures to asbestos are often affected with asbestosis.

Asbestosis is labeled as a monosymptomatic disease. It is labeled as monosymptomatic because the earliest, most common symptom is only shortness of breath

Symptoms of Asbestosis

When symptoms are present, the most common symptoms of asbestosis are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Appetite loss

Can Asbestosis be treated?

Unfortunately, there currently is no cure for asbestosis. The treatment involves treating its symptoms and preventing further complications of the disease.

What are Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals. They can only be identified under a microscope.

In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and provide heat insulation and fire resistance. In most products, asbestos is combined with a binding material so that it is not readily released into the air.

If asbestos is released into the air and is inhaled, it can remain in the lungs for a long period of time. Inhalation of asbestos produces the risk for severe health problems. The health problems usually do not appear until many years later. Complications that arise from asbestos exposure include lung cancer and mesothelioma. Find out more about these complications at

Where are Asbestos Found?

Asbestos are very common. More that 3,000 products in use today contain asbestos. Most of the products in heat and acoustic insulation, fireproofing, roofing and flooring contain asbestos.

Some of the more common products that may contain asbestos include:

  • Pipe and duct insulation
  • Building insulation
  • Wall and ceiling panels
  • Carpet underlays
  • Roofing materials
  • Artificial fireplaces and materials
  • Patching and spackling compounds
  • Brake pads and linings
  • Pot holders and ironing board pads
  • Hairdryers
  • Floor tiles
  • Electrical wires
  • Textured paints
  • Cements
  • Toasters and other household appliances
  • Furnaces and other furnace door gaskets

Banning of Asbestos

The use of asbestos in many products has been banned.

It is no longer legal to use asbestos in the following products:

  • the spraying of asbestos-containing materials
  • certain pipe coverings
  • certain patching compounds and artificial fireplace logs
  • sprayed-on asbestos decorations
  • hairdryers that contain asbestos
  • products used in home construction

How do you know if a product contains asbestos?

Products containing asbestos often do not list asbestos on their labels. The only sure way to know is to contact the manufacture and ask them. You can also call the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (800-638-2772) for information about whether a product contains asbestos.

Complications of Asbestos

If inhaled, asbestos fibers can have serious effects on your health. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.

The first symptoms of an asbestos related disease may not occur until 30 years after exposure to asbestos.

What to do if you believe you have an asbestos related disease?

If you believe you have an asbestos related disease, you should discuss it with our doctor. You must also determine the material that has exposed you to asbestos. You can determine if a material is releasing asbestos fibers by taking it to a state health agency and asking them to test it for you.


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