Nowadays, we’re in fear of the food we eat, the air we breathe and the world we live in. All of this gets even scarier when we come face-to-face with the idea that our own home might be actively trying to harm us. We’re, of course, talking about the effect of asbestos on our body and long-term health. Because of this, there are several things you need to know about asbestos and its safe removal.
1. What are the dangers?
Frankly speaking, asbestos is an incredibly harmful material, not just because of its hazardous properties but because of the fact that it’s so widely present in our homes. From the medical standpoint, the three primary diseases caused by asbestos are asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Unlike most other particles we breathe in, asbestos fibers don’t break down, which causes them to sharply tear through our lungs (on a molecular level), cause tissue damage and stay there where they can do more harm. The greatest problem with asbestos lies in the fact that you don’t even know if you’re exposed to it until it’s too late.
In order to raise your alertness to the necessary level, you need to learn the symptoms of asbestos, even though it’s better to go by other indicators. If you’re constantly experiencing shortness of breath, tightness in your chest, chest pain, appetite loss and a persistent dry cough, you might be dealing with asbestos poisoning. In this scenario, finding proper medical care is your first priority.
2. How to recognize a hazard?
The first step in avoiding a trap lies in knowing there is one to begin with. In other words, you first need to know what the dangers of asbestos are, which is something we’ve already covered in the previous section. Next, you need to learn how to recognize a building which has asbestos in its structure (paint, shingles or pipes). The most common denominator here is the age of the building. While the first ban on asbestos came in 1973, this material wasn’t fully banned until 1989. In other words, any structure dating from before these two dates is a potential hazard. Still, these are merely pointers and the only way to know for sure is to look for a professional asbestos clearance inspection.
3. Removing it or leaving it there?
The next thing you need to consider is the dangers of removing asbestos in the first place. On the one hand, you want the asbestos as far from you and your family as possible, but then again, we talked about asbestos fibers and the dangers that they create. Wouldn’t it be just as dangerous to remove the asbestos? After all, wouldn’t this release even more particles to roam around the room? Well, sure, if the removal is done through a DIY project. On the other hand, if you leave this to professionals, it won’t be hazardous at all. Professional asbestos removal might solve most of these problems while putting you in minimal danger.
4. Home or workplace exposure?
The problem with asbestos exposure within your home lies in the fact that it affects your entire family and takes place 24/7. You’re at risk while sleeping, eating and while you’re watching TV in your living room. Even if the health ramifications weren’t that great, the mere mental image of this scenario is almost unbearable. Unfortunately, your home is not the only place where you might be exposed to asbestos. A similar thing might take place in the office as well.
5. Natural disasters
One last thing you need to understand is that during a hurricane or tornado, asbestos might be distributed or spread around the neighborhood. Not to be too cryptic, in order for it to make some real damage, asbestos needs to pile up for years and years. Still, what if your home contains asbestos and now the natural disaster has let its fibers loose? During these disasters, people have bigger concerns (for their immediate health and property) than asbestos, which makes them completely forget about this pressing issue. Needless to say, as a responsible adult, you can’t allow something so major to slip your mind.
While all of the above-listed may seem as too much effort, keep in mind that your health is always worth it. Moreover, remember that asbestos inspection and removal are one-time projects. It’s not like asbestos can reappear on its own. In other words, regardless of how inconvenient it may seem at the moment, getting rid of asbestos is really worth it in the long run.