The word Asbestos sounds almost deadly, but what is asbestos?
Asbestos is a hazardous material. Asbestos compounds are found in rocks and soil. These compounds are mineral fibers and they have worked well for manufacturing companies for numerous reasons.
They’re resistant to heat, chemicals, and electricity. This is why they have been widely used for decades to make construction materials and automotive parts.
Which materials contain Asbestos?
- Vinyl tiles used for flooring
- Walls and attic insulations (fiber glass)
- Roof shingles
- Heater blankets
- Car brakes
- Cigarette filters
- Talcum powder (baby powder)
- Cosmetics (make up)
Asbestos is cheap, flexible and durable. Construction companies fell in love with its potential and its usage.
But the question is, Is asbestos safe?
Breathing in this material for long periods of time can increase your risk of diseases.
Although it is rare, mesothelioma is the most common form of cancer with asbestos exposure.
If you have worked with the substance or shared a home with someone who has, see your doctor if you have trouble breathing.
What are the Symptoms of Asbestosis?
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
- A continuing cough that gets worse over time
- Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up from the lungs
- Pain or tightening in the chest
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling of the neck or face
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Fatigue or anemia
First responders and people in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup at the site of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City are at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease. Asbestos was used in the construction of the North Tower of the WTC, when the building collapsed, hundreds of tons of asbestos were released into the air.
Clearly the health risks from long time asbestos exposure is evident. Some studies show asbestos-related diseases in individuals with only brief exposures.
Those who develop asbestos-related diseases show zero signs of illness after a long time. It can take up to 10 to 40 years or more for symptoms to come.
National Toxicology Program. Asbestos. In: Report on Carcinogens. Fourteenth Edition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program, 2016.
U.S. Geological Survey. Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2016: Asbestos. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Effects of Asbestos. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Health Effects Assessment for Asbestos. September 1984. EPA/540/1-86/049 (NTIS PB86134608). Retrieved April 18, 2017.