Naturally Occurring Asbestos is a Pollutant, Government Agency Says

Naturally Occurring Asbestos is a Pollutant, Government Agency Says

Naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) has recently been deemed a dangerous pollutant, according to a study published in an October 2008 issue of Chemical Science and conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

According to researchers from the organization, naturally occurring asbestos is the name that describes “the silicate minerals serpentine and amphibole” that can form extremely thin crystals in patterns similar to that of cotton or silk, with extreme parallel alignment and, when crushed or broken, can cause asbestosis among individuals who inhale the particles.

What is Asbestosis?

Asbestosis occurs when the lungs have been exposed to asbestos fibers and the lungs react by becoming chronically inflamed as cancerous cells begin to form on the protective lining of the body’s internal organs, especially within the lungs. Signs and symptoms of asbestosis can be difficult to spot and are often misdiagnosed for other similar conditions, which is why it is important for an individual who may have been exposed to naturally occurring asbestos to seek medical attention immediately. Signs and symptoms of asbestosis include the following, according to the Mayo Clinic:

* coughing

* chest pain

* finger clubbing in some cases, which is swelling of tissues beneath the fingernail

* decreased tolerance for physical activity

* shortness of breath, both during periods of exertion and periods of rest

Unfortunately asbestosis symptoms do not become apparent for up to 20 to 30 years after initial exposure, which can often be too late for many victims to find adequate assistance in reversing the scarring and damage done within the lungs from asbestos fibers.

Asbestos Risks and Dangers

Naturally occurring asbestos may not pose a threat to all individuals who come in contact with it, according to the Chemical Science article, which explained that the “nature of the soil and local climate” also play an important role in exposure. Erosion of asbestos and these activities include:

* mining

* quarrying

* excavation for construction

* farming

* landscaping

* gardening

The researchers suggest that once NOA is discovered, a risk assessment of exposure to a community must be determined, in which case the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will likely need to be alerted, as they are the regulatory body responsible for removal and regulation of asbestos materials.

However, it is important for those who have worked with or been exposed to asbestos to understand the following risks, which may increase the severity of an asbestos case or put others at risk:
exposure times will have an effect on asbestosis or mesothelioma development, although individuals with minimum exposure have the same asbestos risks

* symptoms of asbestos are often delayed, which is why initial exposure should not be overlooked

* family members are also at risk if clothing, shoes covered is asbestos are brought into the house for others to inhale, which is known as paraoccupational exposure

* employees who have worked with shipbuilding, mining, milling, construction, brake repair, demolition, drywall and firefighters may all be at risk for potential exposure to asbestos and should consult a medical professional as a safety precaution

Finding Mesothelioma Help

Once an individual becomes diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, they can quickly become overwhelmed with what to do and how to seek the appropriate medical and legal counsel to better their situation as soon as possible. It is important that an individual become educated on their condition and to speak openly with a knowledgeable medical professional about any and all treatments, including those treatments being tested as part of mesothelioma clinical trials, as any new type of treatment may be successful in postponing the unfortunate “incurable” condition.

It may also be necessary for a mesothelioma patient to contact a mesothelioma attorney.

Creating a mesothelioma lawsuit can earn monetary compensation to pay for costly bills associated with mesothelioma cancer.

For more information on naturally occurring asbestos visit Additionally, by visiting individuals can learn more about other legal issues such as overcoming the Avandia risks or developing a Ketek class action lawsuit.

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