This is a warning: Asbestos exposure can increase the chances of cancer. If you find asbestos in your home, get the help of Erie Environmental’s provide professional asbestos testing services.
Health Issues that Asbestos Cause
If the asbestos from inside the product is disturbed (demolition of building for example) then tiny fibers are released in the environment. The fibers are very tiny, so much so that they are impossible to see with naked eyes. You can easily inhale them, and if you do, they can be trapped in the lungs and stay there for many years. Imagine you are exposed to the tiny fibers on a regular basis. What can happen? The particles accumulate/ trapped in your lungs and over a period, create abnormal cells and other diseases.
According to the International Agency for Research Cancer (IARC) evidence-based research, it shows that asbestos fibers can cause Mesothelioma (cancer of the chest membrane), ovary cancer, larynx cancer, and of course lung cancer. Non-cancerous diseases caused by Asbestos are Asbestosis, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, atelectasis, benign effusions, and pleuritis.
Here are the signs and symptoms of asbestos exposure:
- Fluid accumulation in the area surrounding the lungs
- Dry cough
- Chest tightness and pain
- Thickening and plaques around pleural
- A different cracking noise while breathing
You may also experience abdominal swelling, stomach pain, hoarse voice, clubbed fingers, weight loss, IBS, and difficulty in swallowing.
What Do EPA, CPSC, and IARC Have to Say?
Many people don’t realize the health hazards that asbestos cause. Though asbestos has been mined and commercially used since the late 1800s, especially during the World War II, to strengthen cement and plastics in building construction process, it was officially banned by the US Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) because the fibers from the asbestos could be easily released in the air and cause health problems. The ban was made official in 1970. After this, the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) prohibited new uses of asbestos in building construction, adhesives, plastics, garden products, talc-containing crayons, and many other products.
However, in 2000, CPSC and EPA concluded after a series of tests that minimal exposure to asbestos-based vermiculite poses only low health risks in children. However, prolonged or occasional exposure to such substances during gardening or/and building construction can increase the chance of pulmonary diseases, including cancer.
The organizations also suggest that whenever you are working with asbestos vermiculite, keep the product wet and the area well ventilated. Also, if the area is too dusty, it is advisable to discard the clothes worn during the use of asbestos. While there’s a serious annual decline in the usage of asbestos ever since old buildings and houses constructed before the 1980s may still contain a good proportion of asbestos.
What Should You Do If You Are Exposed to Asbestos?
If you have a strong history of asbestos exposure and if in case you have one or more of the aforementioned health signs, you must inform your doctor about it and ask them to recommend tests and screenings for asbestos-related diseases.
These tests will include a blood test, chest x-ray, CT Scan, and pulmonary function test. If you have been exposed to asbestos for many years, you must get the screening done every 3 – 5 years, depending upon the doctor’s suggestion.
Where Can You Find Asbestos
You must also get your house or building sample tested for asbestos and get them removed by a certified asbestos removal company, like Erie Environmental. Common places where you can find asbestos in your home are cement, drywall, attic, vinyl floor tiles (before 1950), popcorn ceilings, insulation around pipes, roof shingles and textured paints. If you feel your house might be a victim to asbestos immediately visit nearest hospital.