Asbestos ingestion is related to peritoneal mesothelioma as well as digestive cancers. Nonetheless, the link that connects these 3 conditions is not concrete even to this day. Asbestos ingestion is less common than inhalation of asbestos fibers but that does not mean it does not happen. This problem becomes a grave concern when asbestos exposure in F&B can be found where produce and utensils are stored at.
The most common form of this cancer type is pleural mesothelioma whereas a certain percentage of people is diagnosed with another form, peritoneal mesothelioma. This is the type which origins stem from the tissue lining within the abdominal cavity. It is not fully understood how asbestos fibers can make their way toward the peritoneum, but most likely it is a result of accidental ingestion.
Pleural mesothelioma is often caused by inhaling asbestos fibers which then get lodged inside the tissues of the lungs or pleura. This process in turn causes damage which may lead to cancer. Inhalation takes place when asbestos is present within the environment. Its fibers are lightweight and are usually airborne, thus making ingestion a less likely incident but not impossible.
Asbestos in Food and Beverage Outlets
Food that gets prepared and then sold in restaurants, cafeterias, and even grocery stores are open to risks of asbestos contamination. This is slightly unlikely but there have been such incidents in the past. In such a scenario, asbestos fibers are released into the air when flooring or walls are removed. This can cause the whole place to be shut down for abatement procedure. If the issue is not detected early, contaminated food may be ingested by customers when they eat off of plates, containers, and so forth. Therefore, workers need to be trained in proper handling of materials that contain asbestos.
Identifying and Avoiding Asbestos Ingestion
A case of the average person ingesting asbestos is quite unlikely but for employees working in an environment that is exposed to asbestos is more likely to ingest it. These workplaces include construction sites, automotive centers, shipyards, and several more. Strict regulations are often already put in place at these work environments but the risks still remain. Workers can avoid investing asbestos by storing all foods and drinks away from their work station. While working, they are also recommended to wear safety equipment such as masks and respirators to prevent getting exposed to asbestos fibers.
For foods and drinks that are in an environment where there is asbestos in the air, it is not possible to detect its fibers by sight. A specialized microscopy is required to identify any presence of asbestos. If possible, simply get rid of any foods and drinks that could have been exposed to asbestos of if there were any dust particles that may turn out to be asbestos.