Frequently we have blogs that discuss complicated questions where the answer falls in the grey area of “maybe.” This is not one of those times. As much as we wish it wasn’t true, because asbestos is an excellent material in almost every other respect, asbestos is absolutely linked to an increased likelihood of developing certain cancers.
Two Types of Asbestos exist. They are called amphibole asbestos (also known a brown or blue asbestos) and serpentine asbestos (usually called white asbestos or chrysotile asbestos). Frequently, those who are against banning asbestos try to claim that only brown and blue asbestos (which are rarely used at this point) are linked with negative health effects and cancer. Unfortunately, while it is true that white asbestos is less likely to get lodged within the lower half of a person’s lungs, evidence shows that white asbestos does cause cancer.
Which Cancers are You at Risk for? Good question! After all, it can often feel like for every anatomical part of the human body, there’s a cancer for it. The research over the years has linked asbestos to several types of cancer including lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the abdominal cavity), laryngeal cancer, and ovarian cancer. There is also some evidence that asbestos exposure could possibly be linked to pharyngeal, stomach, and colorectal cancers.
What are the Factors? There are several factors that help to determine a person’s level of exposure to asbestos and their corresponding likeliness to suffer the effects of asbestosis or one of the many cancers linked to asbestos exposure. Here are just a few of the questions that will affect a person’s risk.
- Exposure concentration or the concentration of asbestos fibers.
- Exposure duration or how long the exposure period lasted.
- Exposure frequency or how often during that time period the person was exposed.
- Size, shape and chemical makeup of asbestos fibers. As we mentioned above, serpentine asbestos bad; amphibole asbestos very bad.
- Individual risk factors including a person’s history of smoke and any pre-existing lung conditions.
While being regularly exposed to asbestos or those who are frequently around asbestos isn’t a guarantee for cancer, it’s also not doing you or your body any favours. If you think your Calgary home or workplace has asbestos, it’s a good idea to have the experts at Amity Environmental take a look. Call us today at (403) 667-8264.