The origin of the word asbestos was first used by the Greeks in the 1600s which means inextinguishable. Asbestos is known as a very effective and cheap fire-retardant material, as well as an acoustic and thermal insulator.
The material was often used in home construction, between the 1940s and the 1970s. Obviously, people back then didn’t know of the dangers that asbestos came with.
Nowadays, many people that worked with or close to this material now suffer from cancer due to asbestos exposure. Coming up, we’ll tell you everything that you need to know about asbestos and the dangers of having exposure to it.
When working with this material, we have no choice but to disturb it. Basically, we have to move it around, put it down, and so on. While doing so, small abrasive asbestos fibers fly away from the asbestos piece – obviously, these are very easily inhaled.
Due to the fact that they are abrasive, they damage lung tissue and eventually cause cancer.
Where Can You Find Asbestos?
In the homes that were built before 1975, asbestos is usually found as thermal insulation on pipes and basement boilers. However, these are not the only places where you can find asbestos:
- Some types of linoleum
- Glue used to attach floor tiles to wood or concrete
- Window glazing and caulking
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Blown-in attic insulation
- Roofing material
- Siding material
- HVAC dust insulation
- Corrugated heavy-duty panels
- Fiber cement siding
- Some types of paint
How Harmful is Asbestos?
Naturally, the fact that asbestos is present in your home/vicinity does not necessarily make it harmful or hazardous. Materials that are in good condition do not usually release fibers. However, disturbing the asbestos may cause a health hazard.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to leave anything that contains asbestos alone, as to not disturb it and accidentally inhale any of the abrasive particles we have mentioned above.
How Long Does It Take to Notice the Exposure?
After being exposed to asbestos, it could even take up to 50 years for you to notice any symptoms related to such exposure. Around 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.
Asbestos is the material that is responsible for virtually all of the mesothelioma cases in the world.
Asbestos Fibers Do Not Leave the Body
Asbestos fibers are microscopic. Because of this, they can get through the natural filtration system of the lungs and further towards the membrane that covers the lungs and lines the chest cavity.
Moreover, the asbestos fibers can also be swallowed. As a result, they penetrate the stomach. Their sharp and needle-like nature makes them impossible to remove from one’s body.
The Bottom Line
It is safe to say that asbestos is a cruel material, given that it can take up to 50 years for it to affect our health with the results being significant.
However, it is good that we have been able to discover the asbestos fibers and their effect on time. Now, with proper breathing protection, people will no longer damage their health if they work near asbestos.
The sad part is that asbestos is still being mined, used, and exported in a lot of countries, given the dangers it comes with.