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Exposure to asbestos

Inhaling loose asbestos fibres presents a risk to your health. The use of asbestos has been banned completely in the Netherlands since 1993 and, consequently, exposure to this substance has declined. Asbestos is a natural material that was frequently used in the past for construction and as insulation. The effects that asbestos can have on health became clear in the 1960s, however. Provided that asbestos is bonded, it is not dangerous. If the fibres come loose from the material to which they have been bonded, however, it presents a risk to health. When inhaled, loose asbestos fibres can get stuck in lung tissue and may go unnoticed.

Asbestos and your health

There are a number of health effects associated with exposure to asbestos.

Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer

Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Loose asbestos fibres can become stuck in the lung tissue, cause damage there and eventually lead to cancer. There is often more than 20 years between the time of exposure to asbestos and the point when cancer develops.

Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of oesophageal cancer

There are indications of a link between exposure to asbestos and oesophageal cancer, but these are not conclusive.

iGene Passport

iGene offers you an insight into your personal risks of developing conditions and tells you whether preventing exposure to asbestos may be particularly important for you to help prevent certain conditions. In addition, an iGene Passport provides you with information on what else you can do to reduce any risks. Here we focus on behaviour that will help you maximise the benefits to your health. In the publication below you can read more about what iGene can do for you.