AsbestosWhat — страница 2

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workers who were exposed to asbestos and who smoked is not simply the sum of these two separate risks. Rather, these risks are multiplied. The combined cancer risk is therefore very much higher – as high as 50 to 90 times the risk faced by the general population. (Kazan, McClain, Edises, Simons, and Abrams, 1999) Mesothelioma is sometimes diagnosed by coincidence, before there are any symptoms. For instance, tumors have been discovered through routine chest x-rays. However, when symptoms occur, they may include shortness of breath, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, chest pains, lower back pains, persistent coughing, difficulty in swallowing, alone or in combination. An initial medical examination often shows a pleural effusion, which means an accumulation of fluid in the

pleural space – the area between the lungs and the chest wall. (Kazan, McClain, Edises, Simons, and Abrams, 1999) The underlying disease process of asbestosis is not yet fully understood, but it appears that asbestos fibers in the lungs cause irritation and inflammation. The body attempts to neutralize these foreign fibers in various complex ways, and some or all of these processes lead to further inflammation and cell damage. Eventually a fibrosis or scar tissue develops in the interstitial spaces around the small airways and alveoli. This thickening and scarring prevents oxygen and carbon dioxide from traveling between the alveoli and the blood cells, so breathing becomes much less efficient. (Kazan, McClain, Edises, Simons, and Abrams, 1999) The causal connection between

exposure to asbestos fibers and development of gastro-intestinal tract cancers appears probable, but has not yet been proven with certainty. The diseases for which asbestos exposure is a generally accepted cause, are mesothelioma, asbestosis, small airway fibrosis, pleural plaques, pleural fibrosis, pleural effusions, and many lung cancers in association with asbestosis. At this time asbestos exposure is not generally accepted as the cause of cancers of the pancreas, kidney, stomach, colon, esophagus or ovary. (Kazan, McClain, Edises, Simons, and Abrams, 1999) The information on asbestos related diseases was really starting to worry me. I was concerened about what was to be done with the asbestos containing material that was all throughout my building that I was making my living

out of. I didn?t know if I was going to have to buy another piece of property and start all over again or try to get rid of this deadly material. I was also worried about my employees state of health discovering what exposure to asbestos may cause. I was going to get this taken care of once and for all but I didn?t know who I should call or should I just do it myself, so then I found more information on the removal of asbestos from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA and OSHA are responsible for regulating environmental exposure and protecting workers from asbestos exposure. OSHA is responsible for the health and safety of workers who may be exposed in the workplace, or in connection with their jobs. EPA is

responsible for developing and enforcing regulations to protect the public from this airborne contaminant that is hazardous to human health. New OSHA regulations require building owners to presume that any suspected material is asbestos until a laboratory analysis is conducted. This had determined what was needed to be done to keep this contaminant controlled. Once all of the asbestos containing material was removed, the computer repair shop was open for business once again. Now that I know what asbestos is all about, I take greater precaution measures for all of my employees and myself. Asbestos is still a problem today because a great deal of it has been used in many products for a long period of time within the United States and elsewhere. Consequently, asbestos containing

fibers may be found in man-made materials nearly anywhere in the world. Most people have been exposed to asbestos at least once in their lifetime, but the risk of disease is greatest for those workers who work around asbestos containing material. Dealing with asbestos responsibly can save lives and prevent debilitating diseases. THE END