Last time we looked at the “demon” mineral asbestos. We all know that asbestos is dangerous, not bad necessarily, but it can create issues that are deadly. At NOW Environmental Services, we take asbestos seriously, as well as mold, lead and general indoor air quality. We provide a myriad of different services, each serving a specialized purpose. In fact, for any occupational or environmental health concerns that need to be addressed, NOW Environmental Services is able to provide testing and training to accommodate the situation. Be it abatement training, waste minimization programs, confined space entry training, even sampling and testing. We are truly a full service environmental consulting firm, and we take great pride in serving the Pacific Northwest for the past 25 years.The asbestos training we provide is comprised of information in order to attain various forms of state and federal certifications. We are committed to providing the finest educational opportunities in the field, our instructors are industry insiders with years of experience.
Our previous topic included a bit about the history of asbestos and the legal status of the mineral. The main topic on everyone’s mind is generally the detriment that asbestos poses to your health and with that, it is easy to overlook the good that asbestos did for thousands of years. Asbestos was called salamander wool due to many beliefs that the salamander was resistant to fire. The ancient Greeks and Romans all used asbestos in some capacity, and even Marco Polo was introduced to the mineral on his travels. Needless to say, the dangers of asbestos were unknown in these early days and asbestos clothing, cleaning rags and even cooking pots were utilized. It would take until the early 20th century before the danger was fully realized. By that time, the production of asbestos containing products was in full swing and diseases attributed to exposure were finally being recognized.
Illnesses Come To Light
During the 1920’s the true nature of asbestos related illnesses had reared its ugly head and the medical community had concrete evidence that asbestos was responsible for the deaths of many consumers and workers. The death’s of asbestos workers was where doctors were able to deduce that the small sharp fibers of asbestos became stuck in the lungs and caused all sorts of issues. These workers were asbestos miners and factory workers and had a very high exposure to the material. It is said that, in some factories, the clouds of asbestos dust was almost too thick to see through. You can imagine that this was a less than ideal working environment. The demand for asbestos products steadily increased, as did the production and need for workers. These workers had no idea what was in store for them.
Asbestos causes a few distinct illnesses, Asbestosis, Mesothelioma and cancer. All of these diseases center around the lungs and breathing in asbestos fibers are the smoking gun.Asbestosis is the direct cause of excessive asbestos exposure, although any exposure is less than ideal. Asbestosis occurs when the fibers have worked their way into the lungs and create a situation in which the lungs are scarred. This disease is responsible for the first documented case of a factory worker dying of inhalation of asbestos fibers. Asbestosis is caused strictly by asbestos and can lead to mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma and Cancer
Mesothelioma is generally the disease that we first think of when discussing asbestos. Contrary to popular opinion, Mesothelioma is not specific to asbestos exposure and can affect individuals regardless of exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is actually the cancer of the mesothelium which is a thin membrane that coats various organs and cavities in the body. The issue with Mesothelioma is the long period of time until the disease manifests itself. It could take up to 40 years before a diagnosis is made, this is the issue that makes asbestos exposure so dangerous. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer but asbestos can be the cause of all sorts of different cancers, the most obvious being lung cancer. Cancer of the kidneys, and stomach have also been linked to exposure, again the disease often takes more than fifteen years to become detectable.
NOW Environmental Services is committed to asbestos education and training. If you work in or around areas that may be cause for alarm, we offer simple identification classes to keep you safe in your everyday work environment. With our training you will be able to identify potential sources of asbestos and avoid them if necessary. Check our course offerings for more information or give us a call today!