The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause several diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. Asbestosis occurs when the asbestos fibers become embedded in the lungs after they are inhaled, causing fibrosis, which results in restricted breathing, reduced lung capacity, and the development of scar tissue. Asbestosis is permanent and can eventually lead to pulmonary hypertension and cardiac failure.
Mesothelioma is also caused by exposure to asbestos. It is a rare form of cancer that affects the cells that line the lungs. The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma. In this case malignant tumors form on the pleura, which is the lining of the lung. Other forms of mesothelioma attack the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) and the pericardium (the lining around the heart).
These diseases are common among boilermakers, carpenters, electricians, insulators, laborers, machinists, millwrights, operators, painters, pipefitters, sheet metal workers, mechanics, and other industrial and commercial workers.
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