If you are exposed to asbestos, there is a risk that you will develop an asbestos-related illness. The illness that is best known to be caused by asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. While this is true, not everyone exposed to asbestos will develop an illness or condition.
Some risk factors will increase the likelihood of developing one of these diseases. Knowing these will help you understand your risk level if you are ever exposed to this material.
Duration of exposure
How much time you spend around asbestos impacts your likelihood of an illness. If you work for years around this material, then your risk of developing an asbestos-related illness is higher than someone who is only around it for a week.
Personal risk factors
Like any other disease, how you live your life can impact whether you develop an asbestos-related disease. For example, if you smoke or have a pre-existing lung condition, your likelihood of developing an asbestos-related illness is much higher.
The industry in which you’re employed
There are several jobs where you may be exposed to asbestos, including demolition, firefighting, railway construction, manufacturing of certain products and the auto industry (to name a few). However, not all jobs that involve this material result in an illness or create as high of a risk.
For example, you have a lower risk of asbestos-related illness if you work with products where the asbestos is bonded into something, like tiles or walls. However, those who work in a job where asbestos is released in the air, like during drilling or sawing, are at a much higher risk of developing an illness.
Understanding your risk for asbestos-related illnesses
As you can see, there are some jobs and situations where you will be at a higher risk for an asbestos-related illness. Understanding your risk will also help you know when to seek medical treatment or legal assistance.