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Hazards Of Having A Home With Asbestos
Asbestos is a mineral group made up of thin microscopic fibers that are resistant to fire, heat and chemicals. The fibers do not conduct electricity. Asbestos materials were used in the construction of commercial buildings and homes, in the 1940s up to the late 1980s. The products that commonly contain asbestos are fibro cement and heat insulation. Asbestos was used because it is durable, fire resistant and efficient as an insulating material. As long as they are contained, they are still considered safe. However, most of the fibers in these buildings rip and break after some time due to getting burnt, washed or blown away into dust. According to Shrader & Associates, the aftermath of this is a health hazard to the human body with the development of lung cancer, mesothelioma, pleural plaques and asbestosis, especially since it becomes risky when breathed in.
Causes and Risks
In the home, undisturbed cement materials made of asbestos do not pose any health risks as long as they are in good condition. If the material is crumbling or damaged or disturbed, the fibers release into the air. When breathed in, the fibers remain within the lungs, lodging in the lung tissue and causing inflammation. The numbers of fibers breathed in are related to the risk factors that lead to development of asbestos related diseases. Therefore, exposure to asbestos affects individuals depending on how much exposure to asbestos, the length of exposure, a preexisting lung disease, or the shape, size and chemical make-up of fibers. There are four major diseases related to inhalation of asbestos.
This is a disease caused by scarring of lungs or inflammation. It is mainly caused by a prolonged and heavy exposure to asbestos. The main symptoms are coughing, shortness of breath, and permanent lung damage.
It is mainly as an earlier sign of exposure with the pleural plaques. There is very little impairment to the functioning of the lungs.
This develops as cancerous tumors occurring in the lining of tubes that lead to the lungs, the middle or smaller lung airways. The development of lung cancer increases in people that have pre-existing lung diseases or those that smoke.
There is a confirmation of about 90 percent of mesothelioma patients being exposed to asbestos significantly. Mesothelioma is a cancer of a rare form affecting the body cavities lined by tissue, especially the abdominal cavities and the chest.
Other Lung Problems
According to Shrader & Associates, asbestos also poses other risks to the lungs like pleural effusions where there are abnormal collections of fluid inside the chest wall and the between the lungs. There is also the thickening of lung membranes. Other cancers can also be associated with asbestos exposure including cancers of the brain, throat, gastrointestinal tract, bladder and voice box.
There are different forms of asbestos but they are all considered hazardous. The asbestos fibers pose different health risks. Asbestos cancer is the most common health problem that develops over some time of exposure to asbestos. Most cases occur after degradation or disturbance has occurred in the buildings and homes built using asbestos materials. Therefore, as long as the materials remain undisturbed, then there are no health risks present.