Asbestos exposure is causing a rare deadly disease called mesothelioma. Asbestos is a natural substance which is widely used in the social and commercial construction materials because of its fire retardant and its durability. Materials containing asbestos is also a poor conductor of electricity that’s why before the 1990s asbestos becomes the most favorite materials in the buildings.
Four types of asbestos (chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite and anthrophyllite) are used commercially, especially crysotile or white asbestos. In USA it is reported that the used of white asbestos is almost 99% in the building materials. Asbestos will not hazard your health as long as it remains in good shape and undisturbed. The problem is when its breaks or disturbed. It can release fiber into air and become a dangerous airborne then you breathed in the fiber. The fiber will stick to the lung tissue and are not expelled by breathing out or coughing, some remain in the lungs, others gravitate into the pleural lining.
Asbestos fibers exposure can lead to development of an aggressive disease such as asbestosis, pleural plaques and lung cancers. The problem is you cannot feel it right away cause it takes about 20 to 50 years for the cancer to develop since the first exposure.
There is a case in UK newspaper of someone who developed mesothelioma and he cannot recall any exposure to asbestos. That means he might get exposed to asbestos without his knowledge i.e. such as living in the vicinity of a factory that leaked asbestos into the atmosphere.
Prof. Peto stated that new cases of mesothelioma will continue to increase cause every person in the UK has asbestos in their lungs. The level of exposure will be the key for the development of this disease.
We know that people with history of asbestos exposure has a higher risk of lung cancer especially if they smoked. A result showed that 70% of workers who active during after WTC collapse had some form of respiratory problems. It can be imagine that when the building collapse, it release a lot of small particles to air. A six year follow up study showed that the workers with respiratory problems continue to have the same ailments. We can just hope that the number of cases will drop and researchers will find a cure for the disease. If not, it is like waiting for a sleeping dragon to wake up.