3 serious illnesses caused by asbestos exposure at work

Professionals in many fields have experienced asbestos exposure at work. From those who work on ships to those in manufacturing facilities, many employees have encountered asbestos, possibly without any safety gear.

Prior to strict modern regulations, high levels of workplace asbestos exposure were relatively common. Many of the illnesses associated with asbestos exposure take years if not decades to develop. Professionals who have handled asbestos and their spouses may need to monitor themselves closely for warning signs of asbestos-related illnesses. The three conditions below are among the most common maladies associated with workplace asbestos exposure.


Asbestos sickens people through respiratory exposure. The tiny particles of this mineral substance can enter the body when people breathe. Asbestosis is a chronic respiratory condition caused by the scarring inside of the lungs. The scar tissue caused by asbestos exposure can limit lung flexibility and cause major respiration issues later in life. Asbestosis can cause shortness of breath and chest pain in addition to a chronic cough.

Lung cancer

Asbestos inhaled by workers does not just scar their lungs. It can also potentially cause the proliferation of cancer cells inside the lungs. Particularly if workers exposed to asbestos were also tobacco consumers, they may have a significantly elevated risk of lung cancer. Asbestos-related lung cancer can lead to debilitating treatment and premature mortality for those who had prior workplace asbestos exposure.


If there’s one cancer strongly associated with asbestos, it is mesothelioma. Mesothelioma doesn’t begin in the lungs but rather in the lining of the organs. The lining of the lungs is the most common location for mesothelioma to begin. It can also start around the heart or other abdominal muscles. Men may also develop it in their genitals. Mesothelioma is the deadliest of these three conditions. The five-year survival rate for mesothelioma is one of the lowest survival rates of all forms of cancer.

Those diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits or other forms of protection depending on their employment status and the status of their employer. Pursuing benefits can help workers pay for medical costs and other losses associated with this kind of harm.

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