Asbestos is a mineral that was used for many years in thousands of products, from industrial insulation and floor tiles to household appliances. When asbestos is disturbed, it releases tiny fibers, many of which are invisible to the naked eye. When these fibers are inhaled, they travel deep into the lungs where they cause scarring, called asbestosis. In addition to causing mesothelioma, asbestos fibers also can cause cancer of the lungs, colon and larynx.
For many years, the manufacturers of asbestos and many companies that used asbestos products knew that asbestos could cause serious injuries or even death. Unfortunately, those same companies continued to make and sell dangerous asbestos products without telling employees or their families about the serious medical consequences they faced as a result of being exposed to asbestos. As a result, many individuals are only now realizing the damage that was caused by their exposure to asbestos many years ago.
The damage caused by asbestos can take many years to surface. This is why mesothelioma is called a progressive disease. People exposed to asbestos dust may not show symptoms for 20, 30 or even 40 years.
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