Asbestos is dangerous and is harmful to humans. A naturally occurring mineral, it is a known carcinogen and its long, sharp microscopic fibers can penetrate and remain in the human body. Diseases associated with asbestos exposure include asbestosis, lung cancer, and cancers of the stomach, esophagus, colon and pancreas.
Asbestos can cause a number of conditions, some of which are particularly debilitating and fatal. The problems themselves do not surface until many years after the initial exposure.
Many problems associated with asbestos are related to breathing in the particles. The lungs are encased in a double lined fine membrane, the pleura. Microscopic fibers such as asbestos can evade the bodies protective mechanisms and embed themselves in the lower sections of the lungs. Some fibers will remain in the lung without apparent effect but a proportion may cause lung damage and disease.