Asbestos is a hazardous material that has been linked to numerous health issues, including various forms of cancer and lung fibrosis. However, it’s important to understand the conditions under which asbestos is dangerous to you: namely how long you need to be exposed to asbestos for these symptoms to be hazardous. This blog will look at the factors behind asbestos exposure to help explain the dangers of asbestos.
Factors in Asbestos Exposure
When you come into contact with any amount of asbestos, there is a small risk. However, it’s when the following factors come together where the percentages start to add up to health conditions:
- Dose: How much airborne asbestos was the individual exposed to? Depending on how much asbestos is airborne (usually measured by fibers per cubic centimeter), the risk goes up.
- Duration: How long has someone been exposed to the asbestos? The real danger of asbestos exposure, prolonged exposure to asbestos is the biggest risk, mainly due to most asbestos-related illnesses taking years to form.
- Type: What kind of asbestos is being inhaled? In our blog entry Is Asbestos Man-Made or Naturally Occurring?, we looked at the various types of asbestos, and how their fibers and chemical compounds can be more or less dangerous to humans.
- Location: Where is the asbestos installed, and what’s its current condition? Asbestos that is in a friable state, especially near common areas or HVAC ducts, can be much more dangerous and prone to exposure.
- Genetics: Is there a history of cancer in the individual’s family? Having genes that predispose you to various forms of cancer, specifically lung cancer or mesothelioma, can greatly increase your chances of cancer.
- Pre-Existing Conditions: Does the individual have a pre-existing lung or breathing condition? Asbestos can exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as lung disease or conditions that cause trouble breathing.
- Smoking: Does someone smoke in the building? Exposure to smoking and exposure to asbestos share many of the same risks. If you smoke, or someone in the building smokes (especially indoors) their risk, and how fast it will manifest, goes up significantly.
Just like smoking, the best time to stop asbestos exposure is right now. If you’re worried about asbestos in your building, it’s time to bring in the professionals to help. At Fiber Control, Inc., we can provide inspections and asbestos remediation for all of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Contact us today to get started.