When you undergo prolonged exposure to asbestos, which is a highly dangerous substance and a documented carcinogen, you run the risk of developing a serious, and even potentially life-threatening, asbestos-related disease. While just about anyone runs the risk of coming in contact with asbestos at some point or another, you may face an especially high risk of exposure if you make your living in certain industries.
According to the National Cancer Institute, asbestos exposure often leads to serious health issues. If you breathe in asbestos particles that are in the air at home, at work or anywhere else, they may become trapped in your lungs, where they could potentially cause breathing and other health problems. Mesothelioma, for example, is a type of cancer researchers have long linked to asbestos exposure. Evidence also indicates a link between asbestos exposure and many other types of cancer, among them lung, larynx and ovarian cancer.
While asbestos exposure has the potential to impact anyone, your chance of feeling the effects of it may increase if you make your living as a firefighter, a drywaller or an asbestos-removal worker. You may, too, face an elevated chance of prolonged asbestos exposure if you work in mining, shipbuilding or manufacturing.
Your likelihood of developing an asbestos-related disease is going to depend on several factors, among them the length of the exposure and the size, shape and chemical composition of the asbestos particles that were in your presence. You may also face a higher risk of developing an asbestos-related disease if you smoke, or if you already have compromised lungs.