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What is Asbestos: Risks, Effects and How to Deal With It

By Brett E. / June 23, 2018

Asbestos has been duly recognized as a major health hazard across the globe. The term is well associated with roofing and not so many people know about the inherent dangers of this substance.

This article detail why asbestos inspection and removal are necessary and how to deal with it. Also, detailed are the various health risks and effects; asbestos is known to pose. Everything about asbestos, you need to know is on a rundown below:-

What Actually is Asbestos?

Asbestos refers to a set of six silicate minerals that occur naturally. They all have a common form made up of thin fibrous crystals that consist of millions of microscopic ‘fibrils’. These get removed by abrasion and other process to enter the air. They are generally known as green asbestos, brown asbestos etc., according to their colors.

Risks

Asbestos RemovalThe chances of getting asbestos-related ailments depend on the conditions known as risk factors. The major risk factor that leads to asbestos-related diseases is the amount of asbestos you have inhaled. This is also referred to as the amount of concentration of asbestos in the air; you were present in. The second prominent risk factor is the duration or the time of asbestos exposure. Both of these sum up to determine the levels of asbestos exposure a person has been subjected to. A ‘dose’ as it is known is just a combination of concentration and duration.

Asbestos disease risk depends on a dose-response curve. This implies that the more of asbestos you may have inhaled, the greater is the chance of being affected by an asbestos ailment. Usually, the risk increases as does the number of your dose. To illustrate this:- Consider a person who has faced 10 years of asbestos exposure and a person who faced 20 years of it. A person who faced it for 20 years is at a higher risk due to his more prolonged asbestos exposure. But if both or any of them get affected by an actual ailment depends on how much sustainable they are to it. Smoking has been proven to increase the risk to asbestos diseases due to increase in sustainability.

Health Effects of Asbestos

Asbestos exposure is faced by more than a staggering 125 million people according to WHO. The asbestos fibres inhaled are majorly responsible for the health effects of asbestos. The major diseases related to asbestos are:-

Asbestosis

It is defined as lung fibrosis which is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. X-ray, body features and history of exposure is the basis for diagnosis of this disease. People being currently affected by this disease are due to the rampant exposure they faced in the past. High amount of exposure is necessary for the disease to show up in the lifetime of a person.

Lung Cancer

Asbestos is classified as a major factor for the development of lung cancer. Although it has been recognized as a catalyst for years, the source of lung cancer cannot be distinguished as such. Tobacco smoking is another major factor that helps develop this epidemic.

Mesothelioma

It is a former form of cancer that is very rare. It affects the lining of the lungs and the lower digestive tract. Mesothelioma is fatal in almost all of the cases that undergo diagnosis. The delay between asbestos exposure and Mesothelioma is around 30 to 40 years. This explains why the poor conditions of the past lead to deaths and diagnosis now.

How to Deal With Asbestos:

avoid asbestosAsbestos is not something you will love to have around in your home, workplace or anywhere else for that matter. The actual presence of it is not dangerous but when the fibres get into air due to disturbance or damage, it becomes hazardous.

The ways to deal with asbestos in your home are listed below:

Avoid Asbestos

This is the best and sure shot way to do away any asbestos exposure risk. Not using products or the materials that contain asbestos will simply keep you away from any risks.

Hire an Expert

If you have asbestos already or want to check, hiring a professional is the best bet. An expert will safely remove all the asbestos-related material without exposing the fibres in air. A good expert will be duly certified and will have the right tools like HEPA vacuum to ensure proper removal of asbestos.

Keep Materials in Good Condition

If your home contains asbestos already, you can keep it in good condition. This prevents the fibres from releasing in to the air. A better step surely is removal or replacement, though.

Air Test:

You should get the air samples of your home tested to check for any asbestos exposure, you may be facing. This is a step to be taken usually after you have got asbestos removed to shut down the issue fully.

Final Thoughts on Asbestos

While asbestos are not a health hazard always, they have the potential to cause life-threatening problems. Poor awareness of the past show how so many deaths have been caused by asbestos exposure now. The onus is on us to create a safe and healthy environment for ourselves.

Brett E. is the Owner of ConsumerHomeDecor.com.  Brett comes from a long line of craftsman and foreman, and has been involved with the construction and renovation world ever since he was a boy while working for his families construction and remodeling company.  After graduating with a a degree in Interior Design, Brett is the go to guy for any interior design or remodeling questions!

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