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Diseases from Asbestos Dust Exposure

Millions of people worldwide have been exposed to asbestos in one form or another.  Will all of them become sick and die of their exposures?  Probably not.  But that is not because they haven't been mortally exposed to it.  Most asbestos fibers that have entered the body remain in it permanently.  They continue to interact with body cells in various manners and every so often, they cause a cellular injury that disrupts the normal cell division event, allowing that cell to generate offspring that are damaged.  Sometimes these damaged daughter cells lose their normal behavior and become uncoupled from the rest of the body's cells.  The normal cell communicates with all of its neighbors in a well-choreographed association.  Normal cells work together for the greater good.  But a newly-formed cancer cell has lost that cooperativity and temperate control.  It can turn into a rampaging bull in a china shop, dividing repeatedly when it should not (neoplastic) and loosing its normal surface attachments and migrating from its place of origin to anywhere it has access (malignancy).  This is when the body is under the greatest threat.
But the normal person's body is not without a defense.  The immune system has evolved to deal with the everyday occurence of normal cell transformation to a cancerous state.  Over the eons, Mother Nature has allowed us to survive a host of microscopic events that randomly damage a cell here or a cell there.  The immune system possesses specialized cells that are always on a seek-and-destroy mission.  They hunt for new cancer cells and when found, they can kill those menacing cells.  But that capacity of a person's immune system is not absolute nor limitless.  The immune system undergoes changes in its ability to protect the host from moment to moment.  If one is stressed or under large-scale attack, the immune system can fail us at times.  When that happens, we become sick.  Such immune system variability is one factor that can affect whether a person exposed to asbestos fibers becomes ill or not.  The total amount of fibers and the time-course of their entry into the body is another set of factors that goes into the equation of life and death for the asbestos-exposed individual. 
Some asbestos-related diseases are induced only at high levels of inhaled asbestos fibers.  Others can be induced at relatively low levels of fibers.  In most cases, there follows a variable period during which the body's cells, immune system and the asbestos fibers interact until a time ultimately arrives that all the factors that could protect a person are insufficient to continue their effectiveness.  The asbestos-caused disease then develops to a large enough size that the lesions can be detected in modern medical testing.  Up until that moment however, the body was likely to be sustaining an increased number of damaged or cancerous cells caused by the asbestos fibers present but able to hold them in check. 
Understanding that the body is under siege from any asbestos fiber once it enters is important since it tells us that the only real protection from this hazard is to prevent its inhalation or ingestion.  Once it enters the host, the stopwatch begins and it is a race against time whether that person will develop a fatal cancer within their normal remaining lifespan and possibly die of that illness or whether they might live without overt disease until their normal lifespan had been reached.  Asbestos-induced diseases are caused by as little as one asbestos fiber damaging one cell.
All forms of asbestos and asbestiform fibers are carcinogenic and fibrogenic.  The following conditions and diseases are recognized by the vast medical and industrial hygiene community as potentially being caused by asbestos dust exposures.
1.  Pleural Plaques
2.  Pneumoconiosis (Asbestosis)
3.  Lung Cancer
4.  Pleural Mesothelioma
5.  Peritoneal Mesothelioma
6.  Increased incidences of many other cancers of the body