ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Use of Asbestos and the risk of Mesothelioma

Updated on July 1, 2017

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals. Because of its resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage, sound absorption and tensile strength, asbestos became highly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century. When it is used as a fire or heat resistant material, the fibers are often mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats. Asbestos was used on electric oven and hotplate wiring for its electrical insulation at elevated temperature, and in buildings for its flame-retardant and insulating properties, tensile strength, flexibility, and resistance to chemicals.

The name Asbestos has been given by the ancient Greeks. Wealthy Persians amazed guests by cleaning the cloths made of asbestos fibre by simply exposing it to fire. Some of the Persians believed the fiber was fur from an animal that lived in fire and died when exposed to water.

Marco Polo has described about some miraculous garments when he travelled to China, which had been cleaned by placing them in fires. These garments were likely made from asbestos.

Asbestos became popular during the industrial revolution in the 1860s. Development of the first commercial asbestos mine began in 1879 in North America. By the mid 20th century, asbestos was being used for fire retardant coatings, concrete, bricks, pipes and fireplace cement, heat, fire, and acid resistant gaskets, pipe insulation, ceiling insulation, fireproof drywall, flooring, roofing, lawn furniture, and drywall joint compound.

Asbestos Fibres
Asbestos Fibres
Asbestos Fibres
Asbestos Fibres

Asbestos is considered as a toxic material. The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses including malignant lung cancer and Mesothelioma. In the mid 1980s, the European Union and most developed countries have banned asbestos.

Approximately 100,000 people have died in the United States from asbestos exposure related to ship building. Thousands of tons of asbestos were used in ships during the World War II to wrap pipes, line the boilers, and cover engine and turbine parts. For every thousand workers about fourteen have died of mesothelioma and an unknown number of people have died from other diseases related to asbestos.

In the European Union and Australia asbestos is banned as a potential health hazard and is not used at all.

Asbestos exposure becomes a health concern when high concentrations of asbestos fibers are inhaled over a longer period of time. People who become ill from inhaling asbestos are often those who are exposed on a day-to-day basis directly with the material. Disease is very unlikely to result from a single high-level exposure or from a short period of exposure to lower levels. Smoking combined with asbestos exposure may increase the health risk dramatically.

What is Mesothelioma?

It is a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. In this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium which is a protective lining that covers most of internal organs in our body. It occurs mostly in the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall which is called pleura. It may also occur in the areas such as the lining of the abdominal cavity called peritoneum and also in the heart and in the double-walled sac that surrounds the heart called pericardium and tunica vaginalis which is the serous covering of the testis.

CT scan of a patient with mesothelioma. The yellow arrows indicate the mesothelioma and the central pleural fluid collection is marked with a yellow star.
CT scan of a patient with mesothelioma. The yellow arrows indicate the mesothelioma and the central pleural fluid collection is marked with a yellow star.
An x-ray taken of a patient with mesothelioma cancer.
An x-ray taken of a patient with mesothelioma cancer.

The diagnosis of mesothelioma isdone with chest X-ray and CT scan. It can be confirmed with a biopsy and microscopic examination. A procedure of inserting a tube with a camera into the chest called thoracoscopy can be used to take biopsies.

Most of the people who develop mesothelioma are those who have worked in environments where asbestos particles are inhaled during the job or those who have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways. For example a person washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos can be at risk for developing mesothelioma.

Symptoms of mesothelioma appear  20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss, abdominal swelling and pain due to buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Other symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.

These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions.

Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause undermentioned signs and symptoms:

  • Chest wall pain
  • Pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or anemia
  • Wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
  • Blood in the fluid coughed up

Diagnosis of  mesothelioma is often difficult because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient's medical history. A history of exposure to asbestos may increase clinical suspicion for mesothelioma. A physical examination is performed, followed by chest X-ray and often lung function tests. The X-ray may reveal pleural thickening commonly seen after asbestos exposure and increases suspicion of mesothelioma.

Radiation Therapy
Radiation Therapy
  • Objectives of Public and Private organizations A comparison
    Both public sector and private sector organizations have objectives and missions. But depending on the type of organization, there are differences between the public and private sectors of a country.
  • Regulatory Authorities Objectives and main activities
    Regulatory bodies are established in countries according to the policy of the government with different types of authorities. Regulatory rules are designed to meet government objectives.
  • Concerns of the business manager in protecting environment
    Protecting the environment is considered nowadays as a key issue affecting everyone. Business organizations are pressurized to ensure that the environment suffers minimum damage due to their processes, products and services.
  • Effects of high inflation
    Inflation means rising prices and it shows the increase in cost of living. In economics, inflation is explained as rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.
  • Interest Rate A major economic force affecting financial plans
    Rate of interest is the price of money which is lent or borrowed. It is always expressed as a percentage of the sum lent or borrowed. It is generally calculated on an annual basis.
  • A profit for not-for-profit organizations
    Not-for-profit entities do not expect profits. They are established not for profits but to achieve different objectives of the society. But, can these organizations operate without identifying and satisfying the needs?
  • What is a Search Engine and how does it work
    A Search Engine is a web site designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. What happens when someone enters a query into a search engine? The Search Engine then examines its index and displays a list of best-matching web pages.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I read your comment with istreent. Yes, I would like to publish an ebook. In fact, I have a book I've written as a word document, and it is about tips for developmental reading with your child. I want to eventually publish it as an ebook. Therefore, I would appreciate any information you could share with me about how to do this. Some coaching I have received suggests that I offer it in three parts and have a fee for each. I have another one that I will eventually publish about an out of body experience that I have had. This is a very long story! I have been told by many that I should share it. I have been working on establishing some sort of residual income via on-line marketing of products, etc. but I'm not making much progress thus far. Any good ideas for me? Once again, I would appreciate any assistance you might offer. My blogs come from my heart and my desire to help others. However, I want to develop this into something bigger and better.

    • profile image

      Mesothelioma Help 

      6 years ago

      Great information. Spreading awareness of the dangers of asbestos is essential for stopping mesothelioma.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)