Small Size, Big Harm

December 5, 2014

Did you know that an asbestos fiber is 700 times smaller than a human hair? The mineral known as asbestos is made up of fibers so tiny that 80,000 fibers would fit onto a single grain of rice. Yet, pound for pound, asbestos is stronger than steel.

This sturdy, virtually indestructible fiber, once inhaled into your lungs, cannot easily be broken down, destroyed or removed by the body’s natural defenses. When asbestos is inhaled, its barb-shaped points burrow deep into your lungs, where the fibers can fester for years, decades even, and can eventually lead to deadly diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Have you worked in an environment where asbestos products were used?

Many building materials and heat-resistant fabrics were made with asbestos fibers from the 1940s through the 1970s. While the end product, such as acoustic ceiling tile, decorative plaster or ironing board covers, might not be harmful to look at or even to touch, cutting, sanding, scraping or crushing asbestos products releases the fibers into the air – and that is where the danger lies.

Individual asbestos fibers are so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Due to their microscopic size, asbestos fibers can remain airborne for days, until they eventually settle into the soil – or into your carpet or clothes. When asbestos is crushed, it does not make ordinary dust. Asbestos breaks into tiny fibers that are too small to see, feel or taste.

Did your father work in construction?

Did he come home covered in construction dust every day? If you helped shake out your dad’s dusty clothes before putting them in the washing machine, you might have breathed those microscopic fibers into your lungs.

No amount of asbestos inhalation or ingestion is considered safe. Any product containing greater than one percent of asbestos is considered to be “asbestos-containing” and therefore dangerous if disturbed by cutting, sanding or being broken apart.

Asbestos disease is considered to be “dose-related”, meaning that the more asbestos fibers you breathe in, the more likely you are to get sick. However, one asbestos disease different. In mesothelioma, a very small or limited exposure to asbestos fibers can cause this aggressive and fatal cancer of the lining of the lung, abdomen or heart.

Amazingly, asbestos is still not banned in the United States. Products can still be purchased which contain this deadly, microscopic fiber. You can join Baron & Budd in the fight to increase asbestos awareness.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact Baron & Budd for a free and completely private consultation. Don’t let its tiny size fool you. Asbestos fiber is a giant problem and a deadly killer. Its use must be stopped.