What are the signs of asbestos exposure?

November 3, 2023

Symptoms of asbestos exposure don’t occur until decades later. Here are some of the most common signs of asbestos exposure, from chest pain to dry coughs.

Asbestos poisoning is a deadly illness that stems from being exposed to asbestos containing materials (ACM). At PRO Environmental Services, we specialise in asbestos removal from residential and commercial properties in New Zealand.

Sadly, asbestos-related illnesses are still relatively common across the country. Approximately 100 Kiwis are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year, even though it only takes small levels of exposure to kick-start this fatal disease.

Symptoms can occur decades after the exposure itself, there are common signs to be aware of.

Key signs of asbestos exposure

The main signs of asbestos-illness symptoms are usually around breathing and the lungs. These include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Tightness in the chest
  • A crackling sound when breathing in
  • A dry cough
  • Weight loss from a loss of appetite
  • Roundness in the ends of the fingers and toes

Sadly, it usually takes a minimum of 10 years for these symptoms to occur, or even up to as much as 40 years after exposure.

Asbestosis diagnosis

Getting a diagnosis for asbestosis usually takes a number of tests and scans. Be sure to mention to your healthcare professional if you suspect you may have been exposed to asbestos at any time, even if it was half a lifetime ago. This can help them with their tests.

To make a diagnosis, a doctor will usually:

  • Complete a breathing test to check your lung function
  • Take a chest x-ray
  • Talk through your medical history
  • Ask about your history of exposure

While there is no ‘fix’ for asbestos-related illnesses, doctors may be able to relieve some of the symptoms and even slow the progression. That’s why it can be best to seek a diagnosis as soon as you notice any common signs of asbestos exposure.

Professional asbestos removal with PROES

Dealing with asbestos is dangerous. It’s a task that should only ever be left to professionals, and highly trained and equipped ones at that.

PRO Environmental Services is a certified Class A asbestos removalist, which means we are able to safely remove both kinds of asbestos (friable and non-friable). We take safety precautions extremely carefully, taking no chances for our own team’s health, and that of the residents, workers, and visitors on any of our projects.

As we work to continue removing asbestos from buildings across the upper South Island and lower North Island, we hope to help everyday Kiwis from ever experiencing the symptoms – or consequences – of asbestos exposure.

Don’t hesitate to contact our team today for professional asbestos removal from your residential or commercial property.