Asbestos fibres are carcinogenic (cancer causing) when they are inhaled into the lungs and not cleared by the body’s natural defenses such as coughing. I.e. the fibre(s) become dislodged in the lung and remain there indefinately, causing irritation – disrupting normal cell growth – thus developing into cancer (mesothelioma).
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer predominantly caused by exposure to asbestos.
Malignant cells develop in the ‘mesothelium’ a protective membrane covering the body’s internal organs. It can take 10-40 years for mesothelioma to develop after exposure to asbestos.
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