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Respiratory Hazard - Asbestos Whitepaper

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The last few years have brought extensive amounts of news coverage about all things Asbestos; schools being shut down, offices being cleared and stories of home renovations gone awry. But beyond the news stories and fear, do you truly understand how Asbestos can affect your health, how to spot it and what you can do to stay safe? We do. That's why we've spent decades keeping you informed on potential risks and improving respiratory protection products that help keep your lungs out of harm's way. Whether you work in the construction industry, handle insulation products, install roofs and tiles, manipulate clutch pads or are taking on ambitious home renovations, Asbestos could pose a serious threat for your lungs and overall health. Here's an overview of what you need to know about Asbestos to stay safe. Asbestos is an umbrella term for a group of fibrous silicate minerals found abundantly in nature. In the past, it was widely used in commercial applications and construction because its length and strength make it very heat resistant, great at insulating surfaces and easy to weave within other materials and products. There are two main types of Asbestos, serpentine and amphiobole. Serpentine fibres are long, flexible, and curved, which makes them popular in manufacturing. Amphiobole fibres are straight and stiff, and that makes them brittle and more liable to break. It's precisely when these bundles of fibres break that your lungs become at risk. What is Asbestos? Repeated and long-term exposure to Asbestos has been directly linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma and other pulmonary issues. Amongst the most common is Asbestosis, a chronic lung disease that creates scar tissue in the lower part of the lungs, diminishes lung flexibility and makes it increasingly hard to breathe. Common initial symptoms of Asbestosis include difficulty breathing, what's called a "cackle" sound upon breathing in, finger clubbing and a bluish skin colouration. Asbestos exposure at high concentrations can also lead to an enlargement of the heart due to the increased resistance of blood flow through the lungs. How could it affect me? Beyond the news and controversy Keeping you safe from Asbestos Magnification of Asbestos In evaluating all of these risks, there are five main elements to be considered: • The level and length of exposure • Time elapsed since exposure • Age at which you were exposed • Smoking habits • Type and size of Asbestos fibre 3M Science. Applied to Life. is a trademark of 3M. Used under license in Canada. © 2016, 3M. All rights reserved.

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