Important Things to Know About Asbestos
On its own, asbestos is harmless. But if you release the asbestos fibers into the air, they become toxic and can cause cancer or other illnesses.
Despite its potential deadliness, most people don’t know much about asbestos and how it affects them. It is important to understand how asbestos works and how it can harm you so you can take preventative measures.
Asbestos refers to the asbestos fibrous minerals that constructions companies often use because of their qualities in fireproofing, insulation, and construction. These fibrous minerals occur naturally and is often in building materials. Asbestos was found to cause negative health effects in the 1970s. Therefore, it is not as common to find in building materials anymore. However, commercial and residential buildings built before then may have asbestos present because testing for asbestos was not common until recently.
You will usually find Asbestos in buildings built before the 1970s. Construction companies use Asbestos because it makes products last longer and become stronger due to its quality heat and fire resistance. You can expect to find Asbestos in building materials like roofing, sheet vinyl, pipe insulation, and ceiling spray.
Dangers of Asbestos
Frequently exposure to asbestos increases their risk of developing asbestos-related diseases like:
- Asbestosis: An inflammatory lung disease with deep scarring that causes shortness of breath, makes breathing painful, impairs lung capacity, and even suffocates the person.
- Lung cancer: Cancerous tumors in the lungs that caused by smoking or inhaling asbestos fibers.
- Mesothelioma: Rare cancer in the lungs’ membrane lining and attacks the lining of surrounding organs. Many victims die within months of diagnosis.
Diseases related to asbestos are estimated to kill up to 15,000 Americans per year. There is no such thing as a safe level of exposure so be sure to have asbestos removed right away if you discover it in your home.
Legality and Presence of Asbestos
Despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to have it banned, asbestos is still legal in the U.S. The asbestos industry continues to expose the American public to this dangerous substance and, according to an analysis by an EWG Action Fund, more than 8 million pounds of asbestos has arrived at the U.S. ports since 2006.
Asbestos is much more common than most people think. Unfortunately, since asbestos is still legal and dangerous, millions of Americans are exposed to it every day. Older homes may still have asbestos in the pipes, appliances, attic insulation, cement sheets, flooring, ceiling finishes, and wall or roof shingles.
What to Do About Asbestos
Asbestos becomes lethal when building materials that contain it are disturbed, such as during a renovation project or serious property damage from a natural disaster. The materials will break or crumble as a result and the asbestos fibers will be released into the air. Asbestos is very harmful once it becomes airborne and can cause cancer or other extreme illnesses if inhaled.
We recommend testing for asbestos before you buy a new property or begin remodeling your current one. A trained professional will safely test and remove asbestos from your property and communicate with you throughout the entire process.