Asbestos is a human carcinogen, which is a substance known to cause cancer. While there is evidence connecting asbestos and cancer, unfortunately, there is no precise answer to the question posed in the headline of this post; there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, but not everyone who is exposed develops cancer or other related disorders.
However, in order to assess your risk if you have been exposed to asbestos, you can consider various factors that increase your chances of developing an asbestos-related illness.
The length and concentration of exposure
As noted in this article on the risks of asbestos, people who are regularly exposed to asbestos are more likely to become ill than someone who was exposed to small amounts of asbestos once or a few times. If you worked in a job where you were exposed to high concentrations of asbestos on a routine basis, like in a factory or in construction, you could be at a higher risk than others are.
Research has shown that smokers are more likely to develop cancer, as the combination of asbestos and smoking is especially hazardous to a person’s health. If you were exposed to asbestos at any time, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of developing lung cancer.
Direct vs. indirect exposure
If your exposure to asbestos was direct then you could have a higher risk of developing a related illness than someone who was indirectly exposed. However, even if you were never directly exposed but you lived with someone who had heavy, direct exposure to asbestos, your risk could be elevated.
Genetics can also affect your risk of developing asbestos-related cancer. If you have certain genetic mutations, you could be predisposed to developing certain cancers.
What to do if you are concerned about asbestos exposure
If you have reason to believe you were exposed to asbestos and are experiencing symptoms of a serious illness, it is crucial that you seek medical attention right away. Tell the doctor about your history of and concerns with asbestos exposure.
If you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, then you can consult an attorney regarding your options to file a legal claim and seek compensation from the party responsible.