How Asbestos Exposure Can Cause Cancer

Most companies in the US stopped using asbestos over forty years ago however, materials that contain asbestos are still found in millions of older buildings across the country. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that contains properties that block heat and dampen the spread of fire. Its fibers can be dangerous to humans when inhaled into the lungs and can potentially lead to cancer in individuals if exposed over a long period of time. 

Since asbestos is found in older buildings and is still used in small amounts in certain appliances and other devices, it is still possible to become exposed to asbestos. 

Where Does Exposure to Asbestos Happen? 

For the most part, exposure to asbestos occurs over a long period of time when working in buildings that have asbestos or generally being exposed to products that contain asbestos. Other possible exposure could occur during a disaster or if you live near a site contaminated with asbestos.

Until the early 1980’s ceiling and floor tiles, drywall, insulation, paint, and even cement contained asbestos. You can find small amounts of asbestos in automotive parts such as clutches, brakes, and other friction-associated materials. So, while the driver of a vehicle is most likely safe from asbestos exposure, a mechanic who works in garages or auto shops is more likely to be exposed. 

How Exposure Can Lead to Cancer

The microscopic fibers of asbestos that float in the air can be inhaled into the lungs or swallowed. The body can get rid of most of the fibers, but many can become permanently stuck. 

When the fibers accumulate over time, the result can be inflammation and damage to the DNA of cells. This can lead to cancers such as mesothelioma and other diseases that include:

  • Laryngeal, Lung, and Ovarian Cancer
  • Diffuse Pleural Thickening, Pleural Effusion, and Pleural Plaque
  • Asbestosis, Atelectasis, and Pleurisy 

Most cancers or diseases caused by exposure to asbestos take decades to develop. For individuals who are exposed to asbestos frequently due to their line of work or constantly being in older buildings can protect themselves to a certain degree by wearing the proper safety equipment. This includes respirator masks. However, the most effective method is to have the potential asbestos removed safely from the site. 

Why Call Brickley Environmental?

If you suspect that your building has asbestos, call the professionals at Brickley Environmental. We have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to identify and remove asbestos from your property. In addition to asbestos removal, Brickley Environmental offers additional services, including the following:

  • Demolition 
  • Hazardous Waste Removal 
  • Lead-Based Paint Removal
  • Mold Remediation

Call the friendly, courteous staff at Brickley Environmental today. We will listen to your needs, answer questions about our services, and provide the services needed to ensure that the asbestos or other unwanted materials are removed. 

For more information about asbestos exposure and how it can cause cancer, click here to visit the National Cancer Institute website.

Protect Your Family from Exposure to Asbestos

Asbestos is not easy to identify to the untrained eye. Unless it is labeled, it will normally take a trained specialist to identify whether the substance is asbestos. If you believe there has been exposure, it is advisable to call for an inspection of your home to be completely sure. 

A trained and accredited asbestos professional has the knowledge and tools to identify whether a substance is asbestos or not. If your home was built before 1978, it is possible that asbestos is present. Therefore, if you are planning on remodeling your old home or have noticed drywall or insulation that is falling apart, you should consider getting your home inspected for the presence of asbestos. 

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Over time, exposure to asbestos fibers in the air may cause the development of asbestos-related diseases. The most notable is mesothelioma, a vicious form of cancer that can only be caused by asbestos exposure. 

Asbestosis and lung cancer are two other potential diseases that are caused by asbestos exposure. However, it should be noted that asbestos can also be ingested which may cause issues in the throat, stomach, and even the colon. 

However, such exposure can only occur if the asbestos is compromised. Asbestos that is still tightly wrapped and in good condition poses no risk to anyone living inside the home. Only when this material is exposed to the open air should you be concerned about exposure.

What to Do

A home inspection is a good idea whether you intend on selling, remodeling, or not. Knowing what is in your home will help you make the best-informed decision. 

If you suspect that an area may contain asbestos, the best policy is to leave it alone. If such areas can be sealed off, then do so. Do not dust, sweep, or vacuum such areas as that can potentially increase the asbestos fibers and make them airborne. 

How Brickley Environmental Can Help

If your home was built before 1978, it is possible that asbestos is present. While the chances of asbestos being in the home are much lower compared to a facility, you should call the experts at Brickley Environmental for further guidance. 

Brickley Environmental has the knowledge, experience, and equipment to properly identify and remove asbestos from your home. If you suspect asbestos is present give us a call today. 

For more info on asbestos, visit the EPA website here.


Diseases Caused by Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos could be found in buildings around the world providing cheap fire and heat protection. Exposure to asbestos is everywhere. It has been used to line pipes, used inside walls, and used to fireproof blankets. Asbestos is a cheap, natural material whose unique properties made it well-suited to protect both property and lives.

Asbestos causes diseases that mostly affected the respiratory system. Medical professionals saw a rise in asbestos-related diseases and illnesses from the beginning of World War II until the late 1970s. The mineral eventually became heavily regulated and banned from being used in buildings.

However, exposure is still possible. There are still older buildings that contain asbestos. Here are some of the most common diseases that asbestos is known to cause.

Diseases & Exposure

Exposure to asbestos is always in the lungs. Hence, various forms of lung cancer are a common occurrence. The presence of the fibers in the lung tissues tend to exacerbate the cancer which may have been developed from another source. Therefore, there are two main diseases caused directly by asbestos exposure.

Asbestosis: This is caused by the fibers found in asbestos being inhaled into the lungs. The microscopic fiber irritate the tissues and may cause the following symptoms.

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Coughing
  • Chest Pain

The irritation can turn into inflammation and even scarring. Proper diagnosis is often difficult because it takes time for the asbestos fibers to build up enough to start causing the irritation. It may take up to 30 years after the initial exposure before the symptoms start appearing.

Mesothelioma: The scarring caused by asbestosis may lead to the formation of an aggressive cancer. Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer that is caused by the irritation and presence of asbestos fibers. The fibers can be absorbed into the bloodstream and may find their way to the vital organs and build up there as well.

Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose early and treat. This makes it one of the deadliest cancers. Early diagnosis is crucial to survival. Older buildings and structure that may contain asbestos will need to be identified.

How Brickley Environmental Can Help

Contact the experts at Brickley Environmental if you believe that your home, office, or facility may contain asbestos. They have the knowledge, experience, and tools to identify and remove asbestos from your property.

for more information on asbestos, visit

for more articles on asbestos and exposure, visit this page.

Know the Symptoms of Asbestosis

Even though the dangers of asbestos are well-known, as exposure to asbestos becomes less frequent the symptoms may be misdiagnosed more often. It is possible that some people who might be successfully treated instead suffer and become worse. That’s why it is important to understand the symptoms associated with asbestos exposure, which can cause certain forms of cancer and asbestosis.

What is Asbestosis?

This is a version of pulmonary fibrosis where the lungs are scarred by the presence of asbestos over a long period. It is not cancer per say, but it does have the same root cause as many asbestos-type cancers, including mesothelioma. The cause is usually a long-term exposure to asbestos which is still present at construction sites, industrial facilities, and ships. It should be noted that long-term exposure generally comes from indoor conditions, even though asbestos can also be found in nature.

Identifying the symptoms of asbestosis are not easy because there are other respiratory conditions that have similar symptoms. Common symptoms of long-term exposure include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Shortness of Breath & Crackling Sound
  • Persistent Dry Coughing
  • Tightness & Pain in the Chest
  • Loss of Weight, Appetite, & Fatigue

More advanced symptoms may include pulmonary hypertension, which can be quite dangerous if not correctly identified. It may lead to heart attack, stroke, and coronary artery disease. Another symptom is the clubbing of fingers and toes, where the tips appear wider and rounder than they should. This occurs because the blood flow is not reaching the extremities properly and signals an issue with the delivery of oxygen in the body.

Because other, less severe illnesses also carry many of the same symptoms, it is important to consider if the person suffering has been exposed to asbestos. This means going into their work history and where they have lived, and having the proper tests run if exposure is suspected. Keep in mind that symptoms may not appear until ten or even twenty plus years of exposure.


While there is no cure, if asbestosis is caught early, the symptoms can be treated. However, it can be difficult for physicians to correctly diagnose the issue unless they understand that the patient has been exposed to asbestos. Although the presence of asbestos has been greatly reduced since it was restricted in the 1970s, there are still about 1,000 Americans who are diagnosed with medical issues related to asbestos.

Therefore, removal of the asbestos from all facilities, homes, and businesses is vital to the health of those who live or work inside. If you or someone you know is exhibiting one or more symptoms of asbestos exposure and suspect that your home or workplace may have asbestos present, contact the experts at Brinkley Environmental. They have the experience, skills, and equipment to inspect, locate, and remove asbestos from the premises in a safe manner.

Health Risks from Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos has long been known to be a dangerous substance, though it was frequently used in both the construction and ship-building trades, because of its excellent insulation and fire-retardant properties. In recent years, however, it was found that inhaling loose fibers from the material could significantly harm the body, causing lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. For many people, however, bans on the use of this substance came too late.

What are the health risks?

The tiny fibers from asbestos can be breathed in and travel into the lungs. From there, they embed themselves in the lining of the lungs, where they can cause a range of problems. Some people may never experience a problem, and others will have rapid and uncontrolled tumor growth. Most asbestos-related diseases have an extraordinarily long dormancy period. Little is known about why some people develop a problem and why others don’t, and it is difficult to study, as by the time cancer develops, the asbestos exposure may be long forgotten and can never be identified.

Why is asbestos dangerous?

The fibers that asbestos produces are so small and so thin that they cannot be seen. They are invisible, and therefore, almost impossible to combat. A single human hair can be up to 1200 times thicker than an asbestos fiber. Their size is what makes them so dangerous. Unlike other particles which are filtered out of the lung, they are small enough to travel into the lung itself. Prolonged or repeated exposure is especially dangerous, as more fibers have the chance to enter to body and build up in the lungs.

Who is most likely to encounter asbestos?

Asbestos is still being used in some industries and after a long history of us in construction all over the world, anyone involved in construction or demolition is at risk of coming into contact with these fibers. Any time there has been significant damage to a building, especially one build before 1980, there is the danger that asbestos fibers have been released into the environment. In order to avoid these risks, people should know how to protect themselves from exposure.

How long after exposure does lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis occur?

Most diseases can take more than twenty years to develop and even longer before symptoms start to appear. By the time that a person starts to see symptoms, it is usually too late to take any preventative measures. Some people never develop an asbestos-related issue, while some may see a disease developing as little as five years after exposure. Because little is known about these diseases and about asbestos itself, there are no concrete numbers.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.