Why Asbestos Exposure is Dangerous

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Mesothelioma & Asbestos Published on May 24, 2018 and updated on March 6, 2022.

caution signExposure to the mineral asbestos can be extremely dangerous because it can cause life-threatening health problems like mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. Unfortunately, this mineral was used in many different products and industries, which means many people could have been exposed.

If you developed an asbestos disease that you think was caused by exposure to asbestos, contact a Maryland personal injury lawyer from The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl for a free consultation. We may be able to pursue compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of six silicate-based minerals that occur naturally as bundles of long, thin fibers in rocks. These minerals are primarily composed of silicon and oxygen.

The six types of asbestos include:

  • Chrysotile – This is the most commonly-used form of asbestos. It is very flexible and is made up of long and curly fibers.
  • Crocidolite – This asbestos is blue and is often considered the most dangerous type. Its fibers are fine and sharp, making it easier for people around it to inhale multiple deadly fibers.
  • Amosite – This brown mineral also has small, sharp fibers. Along with blue asbestos, this type is considered more harmful than white-colored asbestos.
  • Tremolite – Tremolite fibers are usually brown, gray, white or green and are often found in other minerals like chrysotile or talc.
  • Actinolite – This is usually found as a contaminate in other minerals and its fibers look like dark green crystals.
  • Anthophyllite – This grey, dull green or white mineral was commonly found in talcum-powder products.

How is Asbestos Used?

There was an abundance of asbestos and it was usually cheap so it was used very often beginning in the 1800s. Asbestos was used in a wide variety of industries for many years, from shipbuilding and construction to car manufacturing chemical engineering. This means people in many occupations could have been exposed, from shipbuilders and miners to plumbers and firefighters.

Asbestos has been used to strengthen, insulate and fireproof thousands of products, from ceiling tiles and brake shoes to insulation, paint and adhesives.

In recent decades, the use of asbestos has been restricted due to its link with many serious health problems. However, asbestos is still found in certain products, including gaskets, cement pipes, roof coatings, gaskets and drum brake linings.

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure occurs when its fibers become airborne and people inhale or ingest them. Once this happens, the fibers often get lodged in tissues in the body and remain there. These fibers often become trapped in the lungs.

Decades after these fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can cause tissue damage and inflammation, along with serious health problems that can be difficult to treat. However, the people who are most at-risk for developing health problems from asbestos exposure are those who were repeatedly exposed to asbestos over many years or decades. This could include family members of those who worked around asbestos for long periods of time.

Some of the life-threatening health problems linked to asbestos exposure include:


Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and other organs. Everyone who is exposed to asbestos does not develop mesothelioma, but asbestos exposure is the most significant risk factor for developing this disease. Unfortunately, this aggressive type of cancer often goes undiagnosed until it is in the later stages and treatment options are limited.


Exposure to asbestos can also cause lung cancer, as well as cancer of the throat, kidney, esophagus or gallbladder. Gastrointestinal or colorectal cancer can also be caused by exposure.

Even though many advances have been made in the treatment options for cancer patients, early detection is crucial to improve a patient’s odds of survival.


This lung disease involves the scarring of the lung tissue. Symptoms of asbestosis include:

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Chronic cough
  • Tightness of the chest

Unfortunately, there is no cure for asbestosis, but there are treatment options that could help to relieve some of your symptoms and make them easier to live with.

Contact a Lawyer for Help

The Maryland personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl have worked with countless victims of asbestos exposure and are committed to helping you obtain the compensation you need after being exposed to this dangerous material.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible for compensation. We can discuss your legal options during a free, no obligation consultation. This means there is no risk to you in contacting us to discuss your situation. There are no fees or costs for our services unless you are compensated.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call us at 410-244-7005.