What is Asbestos, and Why is Asbestos Exposure So Dangerous?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that consists of heat-resistant fibers. It was a commonly used material before professionals discovered the hazards it poses to human health. That’s why it’s important to stay aware and informed about asbestos. Nowadays, there are courses to help you stay informed, such as the 11084NAT course in asbestos awareness.
When a material containing asbestos is damaged or disturbed, microscopic fibers get released into the air, and you can inhale them without even knowing. The fibers bypass the defenses offered by the nose and throat and get trapped within your lungs instead. They can also collect in your lower esophagus.
Once in your body, problems will start to form. A prevalent one is Mesothelioma, a malignant tumor from inhaled asbestos fibers. It forms in the lungs, heart, or abdomen; common symptoms include chest pains or shortness of breath.
Where is Asbestos Found?
Homes built before 1980 have a higher chance of having asbestos. They could be in the ceiling stipple, exterior stucco, attic insulation, flooring, and joint drywall compound. Asbestos is not only found in residential structures but also in industrial and commercial structures as well. Boilers and insulated piping can also contain asbestos.
Many people test materials to see if there is asbestos before demolition or renovation. However, some still don’t as they may not know of asbestos and its dangers. Asbestos will affect unprotected families or workers if there’s no caution. Accidental releases should no longer be a thing, as there is so much literature and awareness. You should consider testing before touching or messing with any building material.
What to Do if Exposed to Asbestos?
The best caution against asbestos is removing yourself from the area where the fibers might be present. If there are any on your skin or clothes, do not disturb them, as you might inhale some of them. Instead, try patting a damp cloth over the fibers, and if you want to remove your clothes, do it carefully and try not to do it over your head.
Should you suspect that you have inhaled some of the fibers, it is best to reach out to your doctor and seek professional advice. If you experience any symptoms like chest pains, shortness of breath, and coughing, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Sometimes, however, it may not be serious, especially if you have not inhaled a substantial amount in a while. Unfortunately, if it accumulates in the body, there is very little to do to reverse the damage.
The majority of people who have asbestos-related diseases are men beyond the age of 60 because asbestos-related diseases usually have a lengthy latency period. It needs decades to develop. Most of the people affected can trace it back to their work history.
Avoid exposing yourself to asbestos more than you already have. Instead, seek professional help and remove the asbestos and fibers safely and effectively. Doing this will give you the reassurance you need and ensure that asbestos gets disposed of through approved government waste facilities. It will also help in decontamination and ensure cleanliness.
Although the risk of asbestos nowadays is lower than it used to be, there are still chances that you could come across structures made from the material. That’s why it is always a good idea to test your property, especially before doing any DIY projects or moving into a refurbished building.
Also, it would be best to promote awareness about asbestos among your friends and family members and ensure they understand the dangers it can cause. It will help them take proper precautions and protect themselves from this harmful exposure.
Check out: How Does Pleural Mesothelioma Develop and Which Population Is At Risk