With a lot of free time at hand, many of you may be looking at renovating your homes. If you’re tearing down your ceilings and walls or removing old tiles to update your home, you can be at risk of contaminating the air you breathe with toxic asbestos. Before the ban of asbestos in the 80’s, it was used in building materials to increase their strength without adding much weight to them. The substance was also used because of its insulation and fire-resistant properties.
If your building was constructed in the 80’s, there may be some asbestos in your walls that can lead to health hazards. When an asbestos-infused material gets damaged, the fibers become airborne and dangerous for anyone inhaling the dust. Although the effects may not be seen immediately, prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to life-threatening diseases, like mesothelioma and other types of cancer. Below are some of the reasons why you should get rid of asbestos hiding in your walls.
Health Risks Of Asbestos Exposure
Inhaling asbestos fibers in the air for prolonged periods can cause many complications as the fibers get trapped in the lining of the lungs, stomach, or heart. Asbestos is not easily eliminated by the body, leading to a build-up that causes inflammation and damage.
Some of the key risks of asbestos exposure include:
- Mesothelioma: This refers to a type of cancer caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers. It may develop in the lungs, heart, and stomach. Asbestos in talcum powder is one of the most common causes of mesothelioma. The famous baby powder brand Johnson’s and Johnson’s has been sued by thousands of consumers for having traces of asbestos in their product. The average life expectancy of mesothelioma patients is 12 to 20 months after diagnosis. The symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
- Asbestosis: Asbestosis is a pulmonary disease affecting lung health. Asbestosis is developed when asbestos fibers are inhaled and accumulate in the lung lining, causing scar tissues. These scar tissues get hardened with time, thereby reducing lung elasticity. Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath, wheezing, and pain in your shoulder or chest.
- Lung Cancer: Asbestos exposure can also lead to lung cancer. Exposure to asbestos is responsible for nearly 20% of lung cancer cases. Although everyone exposed to asbestos may not get lung cancer, smokers with prolonged exposure to asbestos are 50 times more likely to get the said disease.
Asbestos In Your House
How do you find out if you have asbestos in your house? If you have a hunch that asbestos may be present in your abode, you can call an EPA-certified contractor for asbestos identification and removal. A certified contractor will take a sample for testing, and if the tests confirm the presence of asbestos in your house, your next step is to decide whether you want it removed. In case asbestos is found in materials that are deteriorating, such as old walls, the dust coming from them can cause health hazards, thus, it would be advisable to get them removed. However, if there’s asbestos in materials that are out of the way and in good condition, such as pipes in your attic, then, it’s better not to disturb them.
If you choose to keep the asbestos-containing materials at home, you should seal or cover them. Sealing is a process wherein asbestos products are coated to bind the fibers permanently. This way, the fibers aren’t released into the air.
Removing Asbestos From Your House
Due to its dangerous properties, you should not remove asbestos on your own. Removing this dangerous mineral requires professional equipment and tools. Professional asbestos removal companies come prepared with appropriate safety gear, like masks, fiber containment systems, and PPE. Getting professionals to remove the asbestos from your house is the safest way.
Asbestos is banned in the US due to its cancer-causing properties. From cancer to serious lung-related illnesses, inhaling asbestos fibers over prolonged periods can prove dangerous. Though the substance is banned today, it was abundantly used in the construction industry before the 80’s. Therefore, those with vintage homes may still have some asbestos traces around their properties. In this case, it’s best to call an expert for help.
First, get a professional to test for asbestos products. If you do find asbestos traces at home, don’t remove it by yourself as this can be dangerous, leading to health hazards. There are many professional companies that remove asbestos safely–call them for the task. Prompt asbestos removal services will ensure that the carcinogen is removed safely, and the health and safety of your family isn’t compromised.