Asbestos has been known to cause numerous problems in the human body. Over the years, various side effects of asbestos exposure have been made known to the public. However, for many years, people were subjected to asbestos exposure in their homes and in the workplace without knowing it. An example of people that were exposed to asbestos were elevator workers that installed elevator brake shoes.
The major problem here is when the elevator brake shoes would get worn down and start to give off particles. Any dust given off by elevator brake shoes could have contained asbestos fibers. These fibers could have easily been inhaled by the workers, subjecting them to numerous complications later down the road.
Since the effects of the material were unknown—or they were known and not disclosed to the public—workers did not wear protective gear when near or when handling the elevator brake shoes. At least some sort of mask should have been worn, but they often were not. Being near asbestos-filled products like elevator brake shoes not only put those that work on elevators at risk, but also the families of the workers. Asbestos fibers could easily have been taken home on clothing.
Elevator brake shoes are only one of many different types of products that have contained asbestos in the past. Everything from construction materials to pot handles have contained asbestos. That’s why the risk for exposure was so high for so many and why so many came down with asbestos-related diseases and complications.
Some of these complications include asbestosis, which is a condition that causes scarring and inflammation of the lungs. Pleural effusion is another possibility, which involves the lining around the lungs filling with fluid.
Different types of cancer can also develop from asbestos exposure. Common ones are lung cancer, stomach cancer and colorectal cancer. There is one type of cancer that has only one cause and that is asbestos exposure. This type of cancer is called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is cancer of the membranes surrounding the lungs, heart and abdomen. Because it often does not present symptoms until the more advanced stages, it typically has a poor prognosis.
Asbestos is a real threat to people. You should always try to make yourself aware of the products that have contained asbestos in the past and take stock of your home to see how it measures up. If anything seems as though it may contain asbestos, contact a professional immediately for an evaluation.