Asbestos: A Silent Potent Killer
Hannaniah Shenia Zephaniah 1, Stephen Olaide Aremu 2 3 *
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1 University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nsukka, Enugu State, NIGERIA2 Siberian State Medical University Tomsk, RUSSIA3 Federal University of Agriculture, P.M.B. 273, Makurdi, Benue State, NIGERIA* Corresponding Author


Asbestos is a general name given to a group of carcinogenic and genotoxic fibrous silicate minerals that have been of commercial values over the years. They include chrysolite, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite and anthrophylite. Because of their special properties such as flexibility, tensile length, heat stability and resistivity to chemical, electrical, thermal and biological attacks, asbestos fibres have been used as components of several construction, building and automotive materials. This materials when disturbed, during home redecoration, demolition, renovation and automobiles repairs, release asbestos fibres into the atmosphere leading to both residential and occupational exposure. Measured concentration of fibres has been found to be higher in urban areas (especially those in close proximity with asbestos industries which may include mining and demolition sites) than in rural areas. Several studies have linked asbestos exposure to several serious health challenges such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other respiratory diseases. Although the main mechanisms through which asbestos can lead to diseases are not fully understood, three hypotheses have been made. These include alterations at the chromosomal level, activation of oncogenes, loss of tumour suppressor genes, alterations in cellular signal transduction pathways, generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, and direct mechanical damage to cells from asbestos fibres. This article reviews briefly the ways by which the general public (occupational and non-occupational) can be exposed to asbestos and its most recent pathogenic mechanisms leading to malignant and non-malignant disease conditions.


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Article Type: Research Article

EUR J ENV PUBLIC HLT, 2019, Volume 3, Issue 2, Article No: em0030

Publication date: 02 Sep 2019

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