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Asbestos and Cancer Risk


Asbestos is nothing but a mixture of minerals that has bundles of fibers appearance in its natural form. They are usually found in rocks and soils in the majority of the world. Silicon and oxygen are the 2 main elements that lead to the formation of asbestos although, there are other elements also included. There are 2 main types of asbestos.

a. Chrysotile – One of the most common types of asbestos found is the chrysotile which is also known as white asbestos. Serpentine or curly asbestos is another name given to this type of asbestos as the fibers are capable of wrapping itself around when noticed under the microscope.

b. Amphibole – The fibers of this asbestos usually come in a straight line similar to the shape of a needle.

But how asbestos got related to Cancer?

When a person was exposed to asbestos, there are 2 ways it could enter the body.

a. By Inhaling – Asbestos can be easily crumbled and then exposed to the atmosphere in the form of air. This occurred regularly with people working at mining sites, processing the asbestos, making products containing asbestos and installing insulation containing asbestos. This material could also occur during renovation or demolition of a structure by crumbling easily and then floating in the air.

b. By Swallowing – Food or liquid contaminated with asbestos particles on the surface was another way for the asbestos to enter inside the body when consumed.

 The main problem of asbestos is that not many people could come to detect the asbestos to be inside their system at the earlier stage. Later, individuals would start getting chest pains, difficulty in breathing that lead to lung cancer disease.

In parts of Australia such as Newcastle, asbestos removal is still a problem considered to be threat by the society.