Valves and valve products that were made before 1980 were made with asbestos. Products include:
- Valve stem packing
- Valve rings
The asbestos in these products can lead to Mesothelioma and lung cancer. Valves can be found in most vehicles, machinery, and ships. If you served in the Navy you should know these asbestos contaminated products were used in warships, destroyers, aircraft carriers and submarines. If it was your job to work with these products, repairing, changing, and maintaining, then chances are you have been exposed to asbestos.
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, you should also know that it can take years for health problems or diseases to develop. Typically it can take 15 or more years for lung cancer or asbestosis to progress. If you are a smoker and you’ve been exposed to asbestos you have a higher risk for getting lung cancer than do nonsmokers who have been exposed.
If you have been exposed to high concentrations of asbestos, for long periods of time, and/or have been exposed frequently, you have a greater chance of developing an asbestos related disorder.
Even after exposure to asbestos has stopped, health effects can continue to progress.
Risk factors include the length of time and the amount of time that you were exposed to asbestos as well as how often you were exposed. The size, shape and chemical makeup of the asbestos fibers also play a key role in health issues. Long and thin fibers can reach the lower airways and alveolar regions of the lung. These particles stay in the lung longer, and are more toxic than short and wide fibers or particles. In most cases, the wide particles are deposited in the upper respiratory tract and do not reach the lung and pleura, the sites of asbestos-induced toxicity. So, if you’ve worked with valves, gaskets, valve stem packing or valve rings, and are concerned about exposure to asbestos, you should schedule an appointment for screening with your doctor today.