How to Mitigate the Hazards Caused by Asbestos
Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate-based material with fire-resistant properties
which was commonly used in housing materials including floor tiles, roof, shingles,
and pipe insulation until the 1970s when it was designated a carcinogen and banned.
Because of its widespread use prior to this time, it remains common in older
homes and its presence is usually only discovered during housing inspections during
the closing process of a sale. Removal of the asbestos usually becomes part of the
negotiations at this point.
Typically it is uncovered in the basements and attics of homes built before the 1970s
and most people would not recognize it by sight alone. It is important to note that just
because asbestos-based materials are present in your home, it does not mean that you
or your family are being exposed to it. If the material containing the material is intact,
untouched, and unreachable it is unlikely to cause you any harm unless you seek to
perform home renovations which may disturb it. If, however, the materials is cracked or
crumbling it will need to be sealed off and left alone to prevent health risks. In circumstances
where this is not possible, you will need to find a certified asbestos consultant in your area
and ask them how to go about having it removed.
The cost of asbestos removal is determined by the exact amount of asbestos which needs to
be removed but the process is not cheap and it is not uncommon for homeowners to alter
their renovation plans upon discovering it. Homeowners insurance usually will not cover
asbestos removal but there may be state agencies which can provide information on potential
funding or loans to help offset costs.
Professional removal will involve sealing off the area, encapsulating the asbestos contaminated
material, and safely removing them from the site. Because asbestos is a dangerous material, it
is always best to go with a certified professional but it may be advantageous to have one company
assess your home and another one do the work. This way they do not have any motivation to
exaggerate the amount of work necessary.
Asbestos Exposure Related Illnesses
Many people convince themselves that they can remove asbestos on their own when they see the
price tag and wish to continue with their intended renovation but this is a bad idea. Asbestos
exposure occurs when microscopic fibers enter the body through inhalation. So always call a
specialist for asbestos removal who is properly trained and well equipped for this task.
There are many diseases associated with asbestos exposure including:
Asbestosis – an inflammatory condition of the lungs causing shortness of breath,
coughing, and scarring making it difficult to breath;
Mesothelioma – a rare cancer of the lungs, chest cavity, and abdomen;
Lung cancer and other lung diseases including:
Pleural plaques (changes in the membranes surround the lungs);
Pleural effusions (abnormal collections of fluid between the lungs and the
inside walls of the chest); and
Thickening of the membranes surround the lungs.
Cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, throat, kidneys, brain, bladder, voice box, and
Paul Graver has been in the health industry for more than 20 years. He lives in Toronto with
his wife. He is a social activist and promotes the concept of healthy living. He is also an active
blogger and writes mainly articles on health related issues. He can be followed on twitter
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