Most people have heard of asbestos. You may be aware that it’s associated with several health issues – most notably diseases of the lungs. However, many people aren’t aware of exactly what asbestos is and all the problems it can cause to human health. While the use of asbestos is banned in the United States, it can be found in some homes built in the past.

We’ll be going into what asbestos is composed of and the harm it can cause to humans if exposed to it. 

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos refers to six minerals that are made into fibers that come from the earth. These minerals have been used in the construction of houses as well as for manufacturing for many years. The fibers were used because they are resistant to electricity, chemicals, heat, and fire. They’ve been used for textiles, auto parts, and both business and home construction.

However, we now know that asbestos breaks down into small parts when moved around or damaged. These particles cannot be seen but easily pass into the respiratory system. Once there, they can build up and cause serious health issues.

Potential Health Issues of Asbestos

Asbestos doesn’t become dangerous until it reaches the air. Once it does, the fibers break down. They can be inhaled and cause inflammation and scarring to the lungs. Many major US health organizations have marked asbestos as a carcinogen, which means it can create cancer.

Some of the illnesses that result from asbestos may include:

  • Asbestosis – Known to create permanent damage to the lungs.

  • Lung cancer

  • Lung lining scarring

  • Mesothelioma – A rare type of cancer in the stomach lining or chest.

  • Pleural effusions – Fluid collection around the lungs in the human body.

What Can Increase the Risk of Asbestos-Related Diseases?

While not everyone who has contact with asbestos becomes ill, it’s not worth the risk. The longer someone is around the substance, the more likely it is for them to become sick. However, even those with limited exposure may develop a serious disease.

Some of the things that factor into whether you develop a disease include:

  • The amount of time you have spent exposed to asbestos

  • The location where the asbestos exposure occurred. For instance, asbestos bonded to tile or walls is less of a risk than asbestos released into the air.

  • The amount of asbestos that a person was exposed to

  • Other risk factors, such as current lung disease or smoking

  • Genetic mutations which may make it more likely someone gets a disease

Common Symptoms of Asbestos Diseases

In some cases, symptoms may not be seen for decades. However, the following symptoms indicate the need to visit a healthcare professional:

  • Fatigue

  • Shortness of breath

  • Loss of appetite

  • New cough or change in cough patterns

  • Face or neck swelling

  • Blood in the fluid coughed from the lungs

  • A large amount of weight loss

  • Pain in the abdomen or chest

  • Trouble swallowing or extended hoarseness

Contact Asbestos Removal Professionals

If you’re worried your home may contain asbestos, it’s essential to bring in experts to check. The RidAway asbestos team will help you schedule an inspection and remove any fibers of asbestos from the home. This will ensure your home is safe for you and your loved ones to spend time in.

Reach out to us today to have an inspection and removal done. It’s essential to remove this hazardous material from your home.