Most people know asbestos is a dangerous substance, and they’re aware of its past use in household products. However, with the ever-evolving landscape and news stories surrounding asbestos, it’s easy to fall victim to misinformation – a mistake that can have devastating impacts on your health. Since misinformation can compromise one’s safety, it’s important to debunk these five common myths about asbestos.
1. Only Long-Term Exposure to Asbestos is Harmful
When asbestos fibers become airborne, these crystal fibers can be inhaled, lacerating the lining of the lungs at a microscopic level. This results in an incurable condition known as asbestosis, which is the accumulation of scar tissue that causes respiratory complications and cancer. Since asbestos exposure is cumulative, short-term exposures separated by time can have the same effects as long-term exposure, and depending on the dose of the exposure, short-term exposure can result in disease later in life.
2. Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure Are Immediately Apparent
If exposed to asbestos, you may not show signs of illness for years depending on the length and amount of exposure. While airway inflammation and coughing may be early signs of exposure, the early stages of lung cancer or mesothelioma may not surface for 10 to 80 years.
3. Asbestos Should Be Removed Immediately
If asbestos is in good condition with no signs of wear and tear or is located in an area that is easily sealed away, encapsulation is an option. Although removal is the most common remediation solution, it may be an unnecessary expense if the asbestos is non-friable and qualifies for encapsulation. An asbestos abatement team should make this determination.
4. There’s Only One Kind of Asbestos
Asbestos comes in various forms and all cause diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. The different types include:
- Chrysotile: Known as white asbestos, this is the most commonly used form of asbestos.
- Amosite: This was used in thermal insulation and ceiling tiles.
- Crocidolite: This was used in spray-on coatings, pipe insulation, plastics, and cement.
- Anthophyllite: This was used in insulation and construction materials.
- Tremolite and actinolite: These two are chemically similar and are not used commercially.
If you disturb any type of asbestos, there are serious and life-threatening repercussions.
5. Asbestos Use is Banned in the U.S.
While the last U.S. asbestos mine closed its doors in 2002, asbestos is still imported into the country for use in factories. To this day, some industries use asbestos to build valves, turbines, storage tanks, gaskets, and vehicle brakes. However, its use in construction materials is illegal.
Myths about asbestos can gain traction and lead to dangerous consequences. Discerning fact from fiction is key to keeping safe from the harmful effects of asbestos. Fiber Control, Inc. has the experience and certification to determine if there is an imminent threat of asbestos on your property. If you suspect your property may contain asbestos or other hazardous materials, contact us today to schedule your inspection.