How Long After Are Asbestos Exposure Symptoms (And Why)?

Exact Answer: After 10-20 years

Asbestos refers to a category of six minerals that are found in nature and are proven to be resistant to heat and fire. It also serves the purpose of a building material thereby playing a major role in construction. However, sometimes, due to the breakage of the materials made out of asbestos, small portions of it may be inhaled. It has carcinogenic particles within it. This is why it is always used in low amounts.

There are fibers in asbestos that may become airborne when inhaled. These fibers cannot be taken out of the body and thereby settle in tissues and other vital organs of the body leading to their scarring. This may lead to serious health issues such as asbestosis, cancers in various organs such as ovaries, lungs, larynx, etc. It may also lead to mesothelioma in the lining of the heart and lungs which are fatal and may cause death.

How Long After Are Asbestos Exposure Symptoms

How Long After Are Asbestos Exposure Symptoms?

Affected OrganTime
Lungs30-60 days
Other organs10-20 years

The dangers and diseases related to the exposure of asbestos mainly depend on the amount of exposure. Sometimes, the duration of the exposure may even determine the damage to the body. However, in this case, there is no minimum amount of exposure that is considered safe for the body. Even the tiniest exposure to the body may lead to various complications. If the asbestos exposure is for a shorter duration, then the dangers are relatively less. However, if these short-duration exposures are held more than once, then the chances of risks increase comparatively.

Exposure for consecutively longer durations can lead to serious health issues. The 9/11 Attack which was done to destroy the famous World Trade Center exposed the people nearby to huge amounts of asbestos which affected all the people present in the areas near to it. Around 400 tons of this dangerous substance were used in the construction of this building. It was basically done to provide insulation. The statistics of people who were affected as a result of the accident was far more than the death rate.

The persons who are in the risk zones of being exposed to asbestos are mainly those working at factories, shipyards, and construction. The symptoms which confirm that an individual is affected due to asbestos exposure include pain in the chest, difficulty in breathing, plaques in the pleural membrane. The diseases caused due to asbestos are mainly associated with lung diseases. However, they even affect other parts of the body such as the colon, throat, heart, and others.

Asbestos symtoms

The symptoms generally mean the symptoms of the disease the person would be affected with. The appearance of symptoms generally depends on the disease the person is affected with. The minor symptoms are visible within 30-60 days of exposure. However, the symptoms generally get ignored which results in the appearance of disease after about 10-20 years.

Why Do Symptoms Appear So Long After Asbestos Exposure?

If asbestos exposure has affected the lungs of a patient, then the symptoms would include breathing issues and pain in the chest. However, if the asbestos exposure has affected any other organs of the body, the symptoms such as swelling and pain in the abdominal region, improper bowel movements, abnormal weight loss may be noticed. However, the symptoms generally vary according to the disease affected.

In the early stages, the earliest symptoms generally go unnoticeable. This is why screening for the side effects is even difficult. However, if the person had any experience of exposure for a long duration, then he/she should undergo various tests used to detect the symptoms. The tests which are generally done to detect the symptoms and disease include X-ray and CT scans of the heart, lungs, and others. The functionality tests of various parts of the lungs and heart are even tested.

Among all the diseases which one may be affected with, the most common disease with which one may be affected is asbestosis in which the lungs are scarred by the asbestos fibers. Fibers of all kinds of asbestos are harmful. But, the asbestos of blue color has highly fatal fibers. Asbestosis affects the flow of oxygen in the blood and even creates problems in breathing. However, the disease is not noticeable at the earliest stages and the fatality is very high.

Asbestos symtoms

Exposure to asbestos doesn’t cause disease at once. The asbestos fibers when inhaled create many problems. The problems and symptoms resemble many other commonly known diseases and hence, there are fewer chances of early detection of the disease. This is why the symptoms are generally visible so long after asbestos exposure.


Asbestos exposure may lead to harmful diseases. Sometimes, it may even lead to death. Hence, it’s necessary to prevent asbestos exposure. One should not try to work with asbestos by themselves. The carcinogenic materials should be removed beforehand and then the material should be used for a specific purpose. The removal should also be done by professionals.

Regular medical checks can help in detecting the presence of asbestos and its symptoms. Some safety measures should be taken by every person working with asbestos. The asbestos should be kept closed and should not be disturbed. While using asbestos and asbestos fibers, property safety measures should be measured.


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