Some people believe that asbestos exposure is just a thing of the past. But it remains a lethal public health risk today—the more exposure, the more serious the health risks.
Asbestos is the general term for fibrous minerals such as chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Asbestos fibers have been used in building, insulation, and fireproofing for more than a century because they are durable, lightweight, and resistant to high temperatures. However, when asbestos fibers become airborne and taken into the lungs by people, they have been known to cause cancer and other fatal diseases for a long time.
Even though it isn’t usually visible, asbestos is still present in older homes and buildings. Therefore, it is crucial to be informed and take the necessary precautions to combat this lethal toxin.
Here are five essential facts regarding asbestos that you should know:
Certain products contain asbestos.
From the late 1800s until the 1980s, American industries utilized numerous varieties of asbestos products for construction, manufacturing, and chemical refining.
Industrial and commercial asbestos materials were utilized by several tradespeople in numerous industries, including power generation, oil and gas extraction, construction, automotive repair, plumbing, electrical, and chemical processing.
Today, asbestos is commonly used in construction materials, fireproofing, and thermal and acoustic insulators. It is also sprayed in the air between walls, crawl spaces, and structural steel beams.
Consumers of cosmetics may also be exposed to asbestos through talc-containing products. In recent years, asbestos has been identified in children’s cosmetics. It is also found in crayons, clay, and a fingerprint kit for youngsters.
Moving asbestos releases fibers into the air, making it dangerous.
Anyone may be exposed to asbestos in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces. Friable is an asbestos-containing material that is easily crumbled or pulverized by hand. When asbestos-containing items are disturbed, asbestos fibers are emitted into the air. Once asbestos fibers are inhaled, they may become lodged in the lungs and remain there for an extended period. Over time, these fibers can build and produce scarring and inflammation, which can impede breathing and result in major health issues.
It could be decades before you start to feel sick because of asbestos.
- Asbestosis – Asbestos exposure increases the risk of asbestosis (a lung disease that causes inflammation and can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent damage to the lungs) and other nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders, such as pleural plaques (changes in the linings around the lungs), pleural thickening, and benign pleural effusions (abnormal fluid between the thin tissue lining the lungs and the chest cavity wall). In addition, asbestos-related pleural illness may raise lung cancer risk, although pleural plaques do not.
- Mesothelioma – Aside from asbestosis, another primary health concern may occur, like mesothelioma. It happens when asbestos fibers scar the lungs. Scarring can be painful, make breathing difficult, and cause cardiac difficulties. In addition, it makes a tumor that spreads through the lungs and the tissue around them. These diseases can take up to 40 or 50 years to show up in the body, so many people who get them don’t know they have them.
Asbestos fibers remain in the body.
Asbestos is a carcinogen, which means that people who breathe in its tiny fibers may get one or more diseases. Asbestos fibers are tiny and can penetrate the membrane that protects the lungs and borders the chest cavity, meaning it cannot be easily “flushed.” Swallowed fibers can enter the stomach; due to their needle-like fiber character, the body cannot easily remove asbestos.
Other countries continue to mine and export asbestos.
Despite its health risks, asbestos is a valuable commodity in Greece, Canada, Russia, Italy, China, and India. Consequently, several of these nations continue to utilize and trade asbestos. Asbestos has become widespread on construction sites in poorer countries due to its low cost.
Due to the severe health risks that can be caused by asbestos exposure, only trained professionals should remove it. If you suspect your home contains asbestos, have a licensed asbestos removal contractor conduct an inspection.
A home inspection will be performed, material samples will be analyzed, and removal recommendations will be made. They will see that the task is brought to a close efficiently and without risk, allowing you to move on with the rest of your life without being concerned about your health.