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Chest 118; Asbestosis

20 Mar
Chest 118 asbestosis C

Chest 118; Asbestosis

The original chest X-ray comes from a man with calcification of his pleura (the membrane that lines the inside of the chest and surrounds the lungs) due to long term exposure to asbestos dust in the mines of Western Australia.
All forms of asbestos cause lung disease but the type that is most harmful is Crocidolite – Blue asbestos. The disease is usually due to inhaling fine asbestos fibres over a long period of time. People exposed in their workplace are most at risk but occasional incidental exposure can lead to malignant change.
When asbestos fibres are inhaled the tiny sharp needle-like crystals penetrate deeply into the lungs causing slow, chronic inflammatory reaction leading to fibrosis of the lungs. This makes the tissues stiff and the total volume shrinks. The affected person gets slow onset of shortness of breath and eventually respiratory failure. The pleura may calcify and is at risk of developing malignant tumours known as mesothelioma.
As a child living on a copper-mine in Zambia I liked collecting geological specimens and treasured a large piece of Crocidolite that I was given. I would demonstrate the fibrous nature of the rock by pulling strands off to show my friends and kept it on a shelf with my other rocks in my bedroom. Even though concerns about the dangers of asbestos had been known since the early 1930s, they weren’t generally recognised even in a mining community like ours. Asbestos wasn’t removed from production in Australia until the 1980s.
In this picture I have used a spray-painted graffiti style and mixed blue colours with scarlet to symbolise blue asbestos and the malignant scarlet beast – mesothelioma: So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns (Revelation 17:3)

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