Asbestosis is a chronic (long-term) lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibres. Asbestos is a heat-resistant mineral that used to be common in insulation, vinyl floor tiles, cement, brake linings and other products. If you breathe in asbestos fibres over a long time it can cause scarring in the lungs and shortness of breath.
What causes asbestosis?
Asbestosis is caused by inhaling tiny asbestos fibres. When asbestos is cut, ground up or disturbed, tiny asbestos fibres can fly into the air and stay in the air for a long time. When inhaled, the tiny asbestos fibres get stuck deep in the lungs. The asbestos fibres damage the alveoli.
The asbestos fibres make the alveoli stiff with scars and make it very difficult for lungs to take in oxygen.
Most people were exposed to asbestos on their job before strict regulations on the use and remediation of asbestos came into place. There is currently a ban of asbestos use in Canada.
If you smoke and you breathe in asbestos, you may get asbestosis faster.