DANGERS OF ASBESTOS
Asbestos is almost a Quiet dilemma although it occurs naturally and has been used for at least the last 4,500 years. It has also been known to create health issues since at least the days of the Romans where they noticed that slaves working with asbestos often had problems with their lungs. But legislation to control the use of asbestos wasn’t introduced until the late 20th century.
ASBESTOS IS USUALLY MIXED WITH OTHER PRODUXTS
This is probably the number one issue with asbestos. It’s not always easy to recognize when it’s present. Due to its strength and resistance to fire, it has been mixed with cement to form roofing sheets, pipes, and other building materials. It was also used in decorative ceiling finishes and has even been woven into rugs. The main culprit, however, is building materials which suggest that anyone who regularly works in or around buildings made – or altered – in the second half of the 20th century needs to be especially aware of the places where asbestos can hide and to take precautions to minimize the risks involved to themselves and others.
IT HAS LONG TERM HEALTH EFFECTS
The long-term nature of the diseases that are caused, or heightened, by being exposed to asbestos, means that many people who have been exposed in the past will have difficulties tracking these problems back to their cause. Diseases such as asbestosis, take many years to develop. So it could be many years before the problem is even noticed.
SMOKING HEIGHTENS THE EFFECTS
Various studies have shown that smokers are at an increased risk of asbestos-related health problems than nonsmokers. Which means another reason to quit smoking if your work involves handling asbestos, even if you’re following the latest handling procedures. After all, smoking is bad for your long-term health, and there’s no point in further increasing the problems.
ASBESTOS DUST IS DANGEROUS
Once asbestos gets airborne, we can’t see it. The fibers are just too small to be seen. The problem here is that it’s all too easy to disturb asbestos. While it’s no problem when it’s safely contained in building materials, as soon as it becomes airborne we run the risk of inhaling it and storing up problems for our future health.
This means that if you’re carrying out work at home, you should be cautious if you suspect that the materials you’re prodding or removing could contain asbestos fibers. These include early forms of pipe insulation and even some floor tiles.