Asbestosis has claimed the lives of almost 2,000 Illinois citizens in the past 20 years which is cause for major concern. Asbestos is actually a naturally mined mineral that is found in countries across the globe that is fire resistant material used; to line boilers, insulate pipes/ walls, and even fireproof various surfaces. The main issue is that exposure to this can lead to asbestosis which is a chronic inflammatory lung condition that can be potentially fatal usually after over 30 years of originally being exposed to it which explains why 75% of patients who have the disease are 65+ old.
When Asbestos is inhaled, it damages the lining of the lungs and eventually may lead to lung cancer if not treated early. One way to look at preventing this disease is discovering how it starts and who is really at fault for this disease affecting thousands of innocent citizens across the state of Illinois, which has the largest issue with this in the country. The top three ways asbestos enters the lungs is at the job, secondary exposure, or it can be found in tiles and walls inside buildings. Illinois has major issues when it comes to asbestos being found in various steel factories, schools, power plants, and naval bases across the state. Sixty of these locations have actually been accused of knowingly exposing their employees and other individuals to asbestos. The other problem with this is that companies continue to use asbestos and would rather risk citizen’s health if it means increasing their profits.
As dangerous as asbestosis is, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always fatal if the right precautions are taken. Some of the main symptoms for asbestosis are shortness of breath, chest pain, chronic cough, and coughing up blood. If these symptoms are treated soon enough the person may have a chance to live a normal life, the problem is that normally the these warning signs don’t appear till decades after the person is exposed to the chemical.
Illinois has actually taken some recent steps forward when it comes to increasing awareness about asbestos and looking out for the safety of the citizens statewide. The state of Illinois actually has passed three asbestos abatement acts that are guided to the removal of asbestos in commercial buildings, schools, and public buildings. This is a step in the right direction because it shows that action is actually being taken as a way to prevent people coming into contact with the chemical. Another way the state has taking actions in limiting asbestos exposure is buy increasing the availability of jobs for people who want to become licensed in dealing with the chemical. As of now, Illinois licenses over 10,000 people a year who are trained to properly eliminate asbestos in schools, buildings, and factories across the state.