Swallowing Asbestos Risks

In situations where asbestos exposure is likely, there may also be a high risk of swallowing asbestos. Asbestos fibers are most commonly swallowed and the fibers become stuck in mucus or saliva. Some of this asbestos is coughed up or enters the lungs, but enough can be swallowed to cause complications. Swallowing asbestos is a known cause of cancer and many studies have linked asbestos exposure through swallowing to bowel cancers and other digestive conditions.

Health Risks of Swallowing Asbestos

doctor inserting chest tube to treat peritoneal mesothelioma patient

The Environmental Working Group estimates that around 1,200 people a year die from gastrointestinal cancer as a result of asbestos exposure. Swallowing asbestos is also linked to mesothelioma and lung cancer. Unlike the lungs, digestive systems have a more robust defense against ingested asbestos materials. Many of them become trapped in slimy mucus materials or fail to penetrate membranes deeply enough to remain permanently lodged and others become trapped within food particles, passing easily through the intestines and expelled through solid waste. The kidneys and endocrine system may also filter asbestos out through the urine.

However, severe, repeated exposure to ingested asbestos or less-than-ideal conditions like stomach ulcers can increase the risk that asbestos particles become embedded in digestive tissues. Gastrointestinal cancers may be the result. Certain cancers of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, large intestine, and small intestine have all previously been linked at some point to asbestos exposure through swallowing.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma cancer of the stomach lining is one such possible cancer risk from swallowing asbestos.

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How Swallowing Asbestos Occurs

A common source of ingesting asbestos is from swallowing mucus or saliva including asbestos fibers. These fibers are breathed in and then trapped in their respective fluids before being swallowed.

  • Swallowing Mucus and Saliva Containing Asbestos Particles
  • Touching clothing or other materials containing asbestos.
  • Consuming Asbestos-Contaminated Food or Drink

Environments, where asbestos fibers are airborne, can lead to asbestos settling upon food, drink, and other consumables. Ingesting asbestos can also occur when materials used to transport food or drink, such as asbestos-cement water pipes, have asbestos contact with the water, food or drink. Another example is a kitchen with deteriorating asbestos linoleum where food is prepared, leading to contamination of preparation utensils like knives and cutting boards.

Representation for Victims of Mesothelioma Cancer

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer due to swallowing asbestos and if you are considering to file a mesothelioma lawsuit, we would encourage you to contact us and learn more. You will be given immediate assistance and receive a free, confidential case evaluation. Our partnered nationwide team of experienced mesothelioma lawyers can identify all potentially liable products or companies in order to quickly pursue the maximum possible compensation for your losses.