As medical technology became more sophisticated, doctors began to finally understand the effects of asbestos on the human body. Asbestos shards are invisible to the naked eye, and their small size and light weight allows them to remain airborne for an extended period after initial release. Furthermore, because asbestos is fibrous by nature, it continues to break into smaller and smaller particles, meaning one asbestos particle can beget hundreds of smaller ones. The size, weight, and composition of asbestos conspire to increase accumulation in the body which contributes to potential exposure to the deadly cancer mesothelioma.
As asbestos particles enter the body, they begin to accumulate in the respiratory and digestive systems. These fibers are so small they often penetrate organs at the microscopic level, protruding through organs into the body cavity. Mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers mutate the cells on the lining that surrounds the interior body cavity, called the mesothelium. The mesothelium is a layer of cells that secretes lubrication that allows organs like the heart and lungs to move properly. As these cells mutate and die, lungs cannot take in as much air, and the heart experiences great difficulty beating. Also, since the lungs are responsible for providing air to the blood, cancerous mesothelioma cells can spread all throughout the body through the bloodstream, further complicating an already deadly condition.