Asbestos was widely used across many industries throughout the 20th century because it was inexpensive and durable. Unfortunately, this resulted in millions of people being exposed to asbestos in varying amounts.

There is no safe level of asbestos. This means that even a one-time exposure to asbestos can increase someone’s risk of developing mesothelioma.

In fact, some people may not even realize they were exposed to this cancer-causing mineral until decades later when symptoms of an asbestos-related disease become noticeable.

These illnesses could have been avoided if asbestos manufacturers did not prioritize their profits over the health and well-being of the public.

If you or someone you love is one of the 3,000 Americans diagnosed with mesothelioma every year, Mesothelioma Hope can help. Our Patient Advocates are available to help connect you with top doctors and explore financial assistance through legal help.

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How Much Exposure to Asbestos Is Dangerous?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

For decades, research has overwhelmingly shown that daily exposure to asbestos greatly increases the severity of the illness. This is because the asbestos fibers never leave the body, so regular exposure allows the fibers to build up and damage healthy tissue.

However, because the fibers cannot leave the body, short-term asbestos exposure can be just as dangerous.

Did You Know?

A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology found that one type of asbestos — crocidolite that is used in cement and insulation — caused inflammation and scarring in lung tissue immediately after exposure.

Where Does Asbestos Exposure Happen?

Sadly, the most common place people are exposed to asbestos is at work.

Some high-risk asbestos occupations include:

  • Auto mechanics
  • Construction workers
  • Plumbers
  • Shipyard workers

However, asbestos exposure can even happen in places many consider to be safe havens. In fact, some mesothelioma survivors experienced secondhand asbestos exposure after their family members unknowingly brought asbestos fibers home on their clothing or hair.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimates that 66% of U.S. schools still contain asbestos, putting children and teachers at risk. Older homes — an estimated 25 million — may also have a number of asbestos products that pose a risk to families.

How Long Does It Take to Get Sick From Asbestos?

It can take 10 to 50 years until symptoms of mesothelioma begin to develop. This means that many people may not know they were exposed until they get a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Even more disturbing is that asbestos has been found in household personal care products like baby powder and cosmetics. In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that 20% of popular cosmetics contained asbestos. Some children’s toys like crayons and makeup kits have also been found to be contaminated with asbestos.

When to See a Mesothelioma Doctor

If you are experiencing potential symptoms of mesothelioma and there’s a chance you were exposed to asbestos at one time — even in trace amounts — you should see a specialist right away. A mesothelioma doctor can order imaging scans and a biopsy to confirm your diagnosis.

Getting an early and accurate diagnosis from a mesothelioma doctor can greatly improve your chances of becoming a long-term survivor.

Early symptoms of mesothelioma may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Worsening cough

Sadly, it is possible for mesothelioma to get misdiagnosed for other conditions, which can keep patients from getting the treatment they need. You should seek a second opinion if your symptoms persist or worsen.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you don’t have to navigate this alone. Our Patient Advocates can find nearby doctors and treatment centers so you can get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Get Help After a Diagnosis

The sad truth about asbestos is that most of the illnesses caused by this harmful mineral could have been avoided. Asbestos manufacturers hid the dangers of their products and continued to profit while millions of innocent people became sick or died.

Even a one-time exposure to asbestos can change a person’s life forever. Thankfully, there are resources available to help.

Mesothelioma Hope’s team of Patient Advocates can connect you with nearby cancer centers and expert legal help so you can pursue financial compensation to pay for treatment.

Contact us today at (866) 608-8933 to get the help and support you need.

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Laura WrightWritten by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

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  1. American Cancer Society. (2023). Asbestos and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from Accessed on August 15, 2023.
  2. Environmental Working Group. (2022). Decades after Congress’ orders, toxics still contaminate millions of schools. Retrieved from: Accessed on August 15, 2023.
  3. Environmental Working Group (2022). FDA Tests Find Asbestos in Nearly 20 Percent of Cosmetics Products. Retrieved from Accessed on August 15, 2023.
  4. EWG Action Fund Asbestos Nation. (n.d.). Five Things You Need to Know about Asbestos. Retrieved from Accessed on August 15, 2023.
  5. National Cancer Institute. (2021). Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk. Retrieved from Accessed on August 15, 2023.
  6. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d.) Asbestos. Retrieved from Accessed on August 15, 2023.

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