At the beginning of this blog, our very first article was about the health effects of asbestos, Hazardous Materials: How Asbestos Makes You Sick. It’s the biggest concern for everyone involved with asbestos exposure, and it’s why we work tirelessly to do our part in locating and removing the hazardous material. Since then, we’ve written many articles that go into more detail on asbestos, how people get exposed, and the complications to health that occur from it. Below you will find our comprehensive collection of articles to read to learn about the health effects of asbestos exposure.
What is Asbestos and Why Is It Dangerous?
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that has been used in construction for well over the last century. It’s composed of long hair-like silicate fibers, though they are even smaller than the finest hairs. While these fibers are normally bundled tightly together, they are somewhat fragile, and through handling or damage, these fibers can break free. They are light enough to float like dust, and like dust, they can enter the mouth and lungs of a person, where they can cause long-term damage.
How are People Exposed to Asbestos?
Asbestos can be found in older homes before the 1990s when partial asbestos bans in the US forbade its use in construction. It can be found in almost any part of a home, from the basement boilers to the roofing materials. From there, there are two major ways people are exposed.
Decaying and Damaged Asbestos Materials
Asbestos-containing materials – also known as ACM – are the various construction materials made of asbestos. Some, such as cardboard insulation, will decay over time, while other more friable types can be damaged, such as asbestos concrete. Both will release asbestos fibers into the air.
Asbestos Disturbed During Renovation or Demolition
A more common occurrence is asbestos that is damaged during renovation or demolition. During these circumstances, asbestos fibers are almost always let loose and pose a great threat to owners and contractors, so much that there are regulations in place to protect both during these construction practices.
What are the Health Effects of Asbestos?
When asbestos fibers enter the lungs, they lodge there and can cause long-term damage to the lungs. There are three major health complications from asbestos exposure: asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
- Asbestosis: Fibers can damage the ability for the lungs to expand as asbestos scars the lungs and pleura. Once scarred, the pleura cannot expand as far and leads to shortness of breath and other symptoms.
- Lung Cancer: Asbestos fibers are naturally carcinogenic. As the fibers stay in the lungs, they short-term trigger the immune system, but long term exposure can damage the cells, leading to lung cancer.
- Mesothelioma: When asbestos fibers pierce the outer layer of the lungs, they can pierce the outer lining of the lungs and chest, called the mesothelium, leading to a very aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma.
Here at Fiber Control, Inc., we understand the risks. Long term exposure to asbestos is very dangerous, which is why it’s vital to locate asbestos and perform asbestos abatement. We can help. Learn more about our services and contact us today to get started.