Asbestosis: Introduction

Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of magnesium silicate minerals that are nearly indestructible, being resistant to heat and chemicals and having incredible insulating characteristics, as well as adding strength to resins and cements. There are two types of asbestos – serpentines, which are long curly fibers and amphiboles, which are straight, short needle-like fibers. Such fibers can initiate foreign body reactions that result in fibrosis to the lung tissue, known as asbestosis and/or chest cavity and lung linings/coverings, referred to as asbestos-related disease, commonly presenting as pleural plaques and diffuse pleural thickening. Cancers of the lung, known as lung carcinomas, other cancers of the head and neck, abdominal and retroperitoneal organs, as well as cancers of the linings of the chest cavity, abdominal cavity and testes, known as mesotheliomas, also develop.”