Asbestos: It’s Existence, Dangers, and How to Avoid Exposure.
Most everyone has heard of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos. Although asbestos is derived from natural minerals, it is highly carcinogenic. The asbestos fibers are microscopic, thus when ingested or inhaled, they become lodged in linings of the lungs, heart, and abdomen, often resulting in major health issues.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, any exposure to asbestos is unsafe, and even the simplest home renovations will send the dangerous particle into the air.
Prior to the Clean Air Act of 1978, asbestos was used in public buildings, schools, and homes. Many of these structures still exist today, so it is important to understand the many ways it was incorporated into building materials, especially in homes built prior to 1978.
For instance, asbestos was routinely used to insulate homes, hot water systems, and water pipes during new construction between the 1930s – 1950s. I can also be found in several applications such as,flooring tiles, stove-top pads, adhesives, roofing materials, insulation, cement, and drywall.
Limiting Exposure to Asbestos
This material has been used for decades in buildings, soundproofing applications, and even in automobile parts including gaskets, brake pads, and coatings. Basically, if you’ve ever been in close vicinity to older buildings or vehicles, you’ve undoubtedly been in close proximity to asbestos. It isn’t until the asbestos fibers are damaged and released into the air, that they pose any health risk, according to the National Safety Council.
Even those seemingly minor projects like scraping away old paint, changing light fixtures, hanging wall art, or removing insulation and caulk may put you and your loved ones at risk of mesothelioma.
Once you understand that asbestos isn’t dangerous as long as it remains intact, you can use alternative measures for working around it. For instance, rather than sweeping or vacuuming an asbestos containing surface, use a damp or wet cloth to clean the area.
Contact the Experts
The fact is, expert testing is required to assess the presence of asbestos. So, before you begin that do-it-yourself project on an older home or building, be sure to contact your local asbestos contractor. Albany Asbestos Inspection Company tests for asbestos and can advise you on the necessary steps for its safe removal.
Asbestos testing and inspection are performed through our sister company Albany Asbestos, LLC.