Once upon a time, asbestos was viewed as a “miracle mineral.” When you consider all of the ways in which asbestos can be used for construction, insulation, and fire safety, it’s easy to see why people were so taken with it. While extremely useful, though, some types of asbestos have also been found to pose some significant health threats. So, when is asbestos dangerous, and what can you do about it? Today, we are going to lay out the facts on asbestos so you can make smart decisions for yourself and your family.
Fact #1: All Asbestos Is Not Created Equally
Because asbestos isn’t a single, easily categorized type of substance, each type is unique in the level of danger that it poses to your health. For example, crocidolite and amosite asbestos are extremely dangerous and even minimal amounts of the stuff can be extremely toxic. With chrysolite asbestos, though, there are fewer risks for lung disease – especially when the asbestos is located in areas where you and your family are not actually exposed to it on any kind of regular basis. It’s crucial, then, to have an expert evaluate your home to determine which types of asbestos are present in order to determine if it needs to be removed and how to proceed.
Fact #2: The Dangerous Types of Asbestos Are Very Dangerous
When certain types of asbestos fibers are inhaled and cause irritation in the lungs, they can lead to several dangerous medical conditions. Of these, mesothelioma is the most common. In fact, the World Health Organization has stated that 43,000 people die each year from mesothelioma. In addition to this, those exposed to asbestos could develop asbestos-induced lung cancer, asbestosis, and non-malignant pleural disease. While the name “non-malignant pleural disease” may seem harmless, as it itself is not fatal, it can actually be a pre-cancerous condition and lead to further complications. Asbestos-related conditions must be taken seriously. Remember, too, that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there is no safe level of exposure to these dangerous types of asbestos.
Fact #3: Asbestos Fibers Can Hang Around for a Long Time
When a person has been exposed to asbestos and breathes in the fibers, most of those fibers will be expelled relatively quickly. Some fibers, however, have the ability to penetrate deep into the individual’s lung and can remain lodged there for an entire lifetime. Over time, these asbestos fibers can cause inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue, leading to the slow development of breathing difficulties and disease.
Fact #4: Medical Problems Tied to Asbestos Often Go Undetected for Decades
In most cases, it takes between 20 to 50 years for the symptoms of an asbestos-related illness or condition to show themselves. In other words, just because brief or short-term exposure to asbestos hasn’t caused a person to feel sick immediately doesn’t mean that the risk isn’t always there – and it doesn’t mean that the person hasn’t walked away from inhaling the fibers unscathed.
Fact #5: Smoking + Asbestos = Disaster
Studies have found that those who smoke cigarettes are at a much greater risk of developing asbestos-related health conditions after asbestos exposure than non-smokers. Avoiding this “double whammy” is something every smoker should be concerned with.
Because asbestos can lead to such serious health complications, it’s always in your best interest to have your home evaluated should you suspect that ANY asbestos may be present there. You should NEVER try to remove asbestos on your own, as this can lead to high levels of exposure to asbestos fibers. Always hire a professional to safely and thoroughly remove dangerous asbestos from your home.
Do you need to have your home inspected or do you require expert asbestos abatement services? Call the team at Abbotts Fire & Flood. We can offer a free estimate and start making your home safer today.