Asbestos is a common ingredient used in making construction materials. It is a fibrous and flexible substance that is heat resistant, electricity-resistant and chemical corrosion resistant. These qualities made it one fine construction material.
Where Can You Find Asbestos?
Asbestos makes a fine construction material because of its nature. As early as the 1800s, asbestos has been used and part of the Industrial Revolution. To date, asbestos insulation and construction materials are among the commonplaces or things where you can find the presence of asbestos such as the following:
- cement sheets
- roof sealants
- floor adhesives
- floor tiles
- ceiling tiles
- WWII naval ships
- home appliances made in the 50s
- skylines sprayed with asbestos fireproofing
- talc products with asbestos
How Asbestos Gets into Your Body
Asbestos can get into your body if you breathe it in its friable condition. Friable means its fibers are in the air as dust or fibers. Once inhaled, it can be trapped in the body such as in the lungs and digestive tract. Prolonged exposure to friable asbestos can lead to serious medical conditions such as:
- Lung cancer
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Occupational cancer
With the danger of inhaling asbestos, most countries are now working on removing products with asbestos from the market. Asbestos has been around for more than 200 years and unfortunately, it took this long for users to realize its danger.
7 Negative Effects of Asbestos in Your Body and Family
What can asbestos do to your health?
#1 Asbestos is hard to break.
Once you inhale asbestos or your family members is exposed to it, taking out of your system is no longer possible. It gets lodged and stays within your lungs and body tissues. Once you get a disease caused by asbestos, expect it to require a long-term treatment because that’s how bad asbestos is.
#2 It can cause abnormalities in your chest.
The presence of asbestos in the body is known to cause four types of abnormalities in the chest such as pleural plaques, pleural effusion, pleural fibrosis, and development of folded lung. Unfortunately, symptoms for these conditions doesn’t show easily and it takes years after exposure to asbestos before the problem shows. Sadly, it doesn’t only affect asbestos workers but also their families who were exposed to their work clothes and tools.
#3 It can weaken your immune system.
There were studies in the past that showed asbestos workers having weaker immune system after being exposed to asbestos for a period of time. Prolonged exposure to asbestos is also being correlated to kidney failure and retroperitoneal fibrosis.
#4 Asbestos is known to cause Mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Mesothelioma was high to workers who are directly exposed to asbestos and probably inhaled a large quantity of friable asbestos. Mesothelioma appears 30 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos but once symptoms appeared, it would be too late for the patient to recover. Mesothelioma is the cancer of the mesothelial cells in the lungs, abdomen, and heart.
#5 Asbestos shortens life expectancy
All conditions related to asbestos developed overtime. Studies showed that symptoms of asbestos related conditions can show up after 30 or 40 years of being exposed to asbestos. Once a symptom starts to appear, the condition has already gone worst, and it will be too late to seek medical assistance. This is true especially to patients who developed lung cancer and mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure.
#6 Asbestos doesn’t just affect you – it affects everyone around you.
Unfortunately, asbestos is like a cigarette smoke, it doesn’t just affect you but once you take home your work tool or your clothes that were exposed to asbestos, there is a chance that you also took home friable asbestos that can put your family at risk. Called ‘second-hand asbestos exposure’, families and home mates of asbestos workers can also develop asbestos related medical conditions.
#7 People living near an asbestos-contaminated property or mine can get affected too.
When the danger of being exposed to asbestos wasn’t known to the public yet, there are asbestos mine sites and work sites that caused asbestos contamination in their surrounding towns. In Libby, Montana for example, a vermiculite mining extracted vermiculite with traces of asbestos that led to the contamination of town for miles. The contamination led to the deaths of hundreds of residents from Libby.
If you worked as a miner, a worker in a heavy industry, working in an electric company or in a shipbuilding company, a firefighter, in the construction service, or in a military duty in a naval ship in the early 80s, you should always complete your annual checkup to ensure you are safe from asbestos-related concerns.
How to Be Safe from Asbestos
If you are in the US and you are living in a house or a property that was established before 1980, chances are it contains a material with asbestos. To be safe from asbestos friable, you should contact a certified asbestos reduction professional to clean it out for you such as the Threshold Environmental Services.
With a provider of certified asbestos reduction team, you can minimize possible development of illnesses related to asbestos exposure, you can reduce ecological footprint, and you can minimize any legal obligations associated with asbestos use.
Who Should Hire A Certified Asbestos Reduction Professional?
Whether you are a residential property owner, or you own a commercial business, you should conduct an asbestos audit and make an asbestos management plan as needed. Most certified asbestos reduction service providers also offer airborne asbestos fiber monitoring to ensure that your property is clear of friable.
To work and to live in an asbestos-free environment is a must for all. No one should suffer after 30 or 40 years because they were left exposed in an area where asbestos is used. Asbestos is indeed helpful and effective as a construction material but the risk it carries around is too much as compared to its benefits. Besides, a lot of materials such as polyurethane foam, thermoset plastic flour, and cellulose fiber can be used as asbestos alternative.