Asbestos Related Lung Diseases
Asbestos is a group of naturally forming minerals that are widely distributed in nature.
These minerals have been exploited commercially and used as a desirable raw material for their heat resistant properties in the production of insulation, construction materials, and concrete; as an additive in paint and sealants, vehicle brake pads and clutches; and outdoor furniture.
These asbestos minerals are most commonly found in building materials such as asbestos cement products. Unfortunately, asbestos is a highly toxic, insidious, and environmentally persistent material that has affected thousands of Australians, and is likely to affect thousands more this century.
In the past, Australia was one of the biggest users of asbestos in the world. Asbestos-related diseases characteristically develop over a long period of time and the first symptoms may not appear for 20-40 years.
While some asbestos related diseases affect the inside of the lungs the majority affect the pleura. The pleura is a thin membrane that lines the surface of the lungs and the inside of the chest wall outside the lungs.
Embedded asbestos fibres can irritate the lung tissue that’s surrounding them and may cause a number of diseases, however, it is important to note that exposure to asbestos fibres does not always result in an asbestos related disease.