According to the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, asbestos board is a sheet of fire-resistant material made from asbestos fiber and portland cement. Asbestos board is commonly used for insulating pipes and other implements that conduct and transmit a significant amount of heat.
When cutting, drilling, or sanding asbestos board, asbestos fibers can easily become airborne and cause significant harm to one’s health if ingested or inhaled. Being aware of this, some people try to take precautions by maintaining a constant mist in their work area and only cutting or drilling asbestos board when it’s wet. However, the risk for harm still remains as some of the fibers could still become airborne and make their way into one’s lungs or esophagus.
What Kind of Damage Is Caused By Asbestos Board?
The most significant harm resulting from asbestos board fibers shows up as a condition known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a deadly form of lung cancer that is attributed solely to asbestos exposure. Common symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, swelling in the abdominal area, and pleural effusion (excess fluid in the space around the lungs). The latter condition can also limit the ability of the lungs to expand, thus leading to impaired breathing.
Unfortunately, most people who are afflicted with mesothelioma don’t find out about their condition until it’s become terminal. This is because mesothelioma can be present in one’s body for up to 40 years with no visible or detectable symptoms. By the time symptoms appear, mesothelioma may have reached advanced stages.
What To Do If You’ve Been Exposed To Asbestos Board Fibers
If you’ve worked in a shipyard, on board a naval vessel, or in construction, then you may have been exposed to asbestos at one time or another. If you suspect you have ingested or inhaled asbestos at some point in time, then you should consult your physician for a mesothelioma test. It’s better to catch it before you notice any symptoms so you and your doctor can discuss treatment options. The more advanced this disease becomes, the more difficult it can be to treat.
After you’ve successfully consulted your physician, you should also speak with a mesothelioma attorney about your legal options.