For anyone who has done any research in asbestos (or read even a fraction of our blogs on the subject), they know the largest concern of its presence is the health risks that come with asbestos exposure. Brought in through the nose and mouth to the lungs, asbestos fibers can cause scarring to the lungs that leads to shortness of breath, as well as a serious risk of multiple types of cancer. It’s important to understand the risks of asbestos exposure, but it’s also important to understand how smoking interacts and complicates the health concerns and how it should factor into asbestos abatement.
How Smoking Affects Asbestosis, Lung Cancer, and Mesothelioma
Asbestos exposure causes three major types of illnesses: asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. It’s important to understand how smoking interacts with these three diseases, as well as how both together can create a feedback loop:
- Asbestosis: A type of lung or pulmonary fibrous, asbestosis is caused by the lungs being scarred by asbestos fibers. Smoking contributes to this in two ways: it causes scarring of its own, increasing the symptoms, and damages the cilia that help clear away asbestos fibers.
- Lung Cancer: Asbestos and smoking both cause lung cancer, and together they double the chance of developing lung cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, those exposed to asbestos can reduce their risk of cancer by 50% within five years of quitting tobacco use.
- Mesothelioma: This aggressive form of cancer is the boogieman of asbestos exposure, a form of malignant cancer that forms in the mesothelium – the thin layer of tissue between the lungs and chest walls cause by asbestos that pushes through the lungs. It is not directly affected by smoking.
The Need for Asbestos Abatement for Smokers
Whether a private residence or a commercial building where smoking is not prohibited, it’s important to have the building tested for asbestos to avoid extremely elevated chances of health issues. Asbestos abatement – the process of safely removing or encapsulating asbestos and asbestos fibers – is a key tool to make your building a safer place. Make sure to have your building tested for asbestos, especially before any construction projects.
Asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma are all dangerous health concerns for people at any age, especially those exposed to smoking or second-hand smoke. Learn more about your options and get an asbestos inspection by contacting Fiber Control, Inc. today. Make sure your home or business is safe from asbestos by getting it inspected by the best fully licensed and insured asbestos remediation contractors for Massachusetts and New Hampshire.