Asbestos and Its Dangers
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), anyone who has been exposed to asbestos at any point in their life is at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease, even if they’ve never worked at a job that exposed them to the dangerous mineral on a long-term basis. Although the risk is lessened if only a small amount of asbestos has been ingested, it’s important to remain as safe as possible and take proactive measures to help protect your family from exposure.
Why is Asbestos So Dangerous?
Although asbestos is a naturally-occurring minerals that’s typically safe when undisturbed, the disruption of its thin, long fibers is the culprit behind the hazardous health issues. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they become lodged in the body. It’s almost impossible to remove the fibers once in your system, and eventually, the risk for mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related illnesses surface.
What Families Need to Know About Asbestos Exposure
The use of asbestos was regulated in the late 1970s after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proved that it was linked with a host of health problems. Unfortunately, prior to these regulations, asbestos was used in a variety of products, homes, appliances, and buildings. As a result, mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers were in demand after thousands of people filed suit against manufacturers that produced and provided asbestos to different companies.
If you live in a home built after the mid-1980s, you probably don’t have asbestos-containing materials. Yet, any homes built prior to the 80s may have asbestos in the insulation, pipes, furnace, ceiling, and vinyl flooring. If this pertains to you, make sure that your children never play around any appliances or any areas that may contain asbestos. Do not start any repairs or renovations until a qualified asbestos professional inspects your home.
In addition, don’t store boxes in your attic and don’t let children play in the attic. Insulation containing asbestos was shipped worldwide for several years during the 60s and 70s, and many older homes still contain this type of insulation. Again, a professional asbestos technician will be able to assess whether your home contains asbestos. If you need assistance in locating an asbestos professional in your area, contact your local health department.
Other Steps to Take to Ensure Safety
Old water fountains may also contain traces of asbestos. This happens when old pipes corrode, resulting in asbestos fibers becoming loose and leaking into the water. Make sure to never drink from old looking public water fountains. Pack your children bottled water.
Old, abandoned buildings should be avoided at all times. Not only is there a risk of falling parts, but there is a good chances these buildings were created with asbestos-containing materials. Never let children play in or around old buildings.
By: Rachel Walker