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Understanding the risk of asbestos exposure

Construction workers in Minnesota know that theirs is a dangerous industry. In addition to accidents that can happen in the blink of an eye, employees in construction jobs are also at risk of contracting serious work-related illnesses. For anyone who has ever been exposed to asbestos on a worksite, there are several such diseases to be concerned about.

According to WebMD.com, asbestos refers to a group of fibers that became popular in construction applications largely due to their heat resistant quality. While this quality did make asbestos beneficial in construction, what has been discovered is that the fibers are highly dangerous to human lungs. The fibers are unable to be seen by the naked eye and can be inhaled. As they pass down into the lungs, they become stuck.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency explains that over the course of many years, the presence of these fibers in the lungs can lead to the development of medical diseases. The three conditions most commonly associated with asbestos are lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Connecting asbestos exposure to these diseases can be difficult in part due to the long period of time it takes for the symptoms to initially manifest.

When a diagnosis is received, the type and length of asbestos exposure should be considered in determining whether or not that was a contributing factor to the disease. In some cases, relatives can even be in danger of breathing in asbestos fibers because workers can carry these particles home on clothing or skin or in hair.

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