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Asbestos Exposure

Date Added: December 06, 2011 02:18:06 PM
Author: saber2
Category: Respiratory Disorders Asbestosis-Mesothelioma

Asbestos is a material used in a wide range of products because if its versatility, durability, fire resistance and insulation capabilities. On the other hand, prolonged asbestos exposure can cause all manner of illnesses. This means that it is important to know where asbestos might be found and take the necessary measures to prevent getting harmed.

First off, asbestos is found in many home products. Since it was used more in the 1980s than it is used now, you will find it in the cladding, flue pipes, cement pipe columns bathroom lining and weatherboards of houses built in the 1980s and before. Modern houses will have asbestos parts in some paints, vinyl floor tiles, cement roofing, brick cladding and plaster. You will also find asbestos in many insulation products i.e. in water pipes, domestic heaters, stoves etc. Asbestos is also found in some motor paints, brake linings and electrical products.

Asbestos is a material comprising of many fibers. It is for the most part safe until it starts deteriorating causing it to release those fibers into the air. Also, people that work with asbestos agitate it causing release of fibers, gases and particles. Prolonged asbestos exposure will then cause all manner of health complications such as:

  • Asbestosis – This is a medical condition affecting the lungs when asbestos fibers are inhaled and trapped in the lungs’ parenchymal tissue. It may cause impaired breathing and heart failure.
  • Asbestos Lung cancer – Prolonged asbestos exposure causes cancerous growth in the lungs. This cancer is caused by all types of asbestos.
  • Mesothelioma – There are numerous studies that show an increased occurrence of mesothelioma with prolonged asbestos exposure. It is a type of cancer that manifests itself after many years of constant exposure.

While asbestos exposure can cause many illnesses, proper handling techniques can keep home owners and workers from the harmful effects. Some of the things you can do to keep yourself healthy include:

  • Working in ventilated areas to reduce the chances of inhaling fibers.
  • Being in full protective gear when agitating asbestos e.g. disposable overalls, respirators, gloves, protective boots etc.
  • Keep deteriorating asbestos well marked to prevent people from working around it.
  • Avoid breaking asbestos sheets when working with them as this causes them to release fibers and particles.
  • Replace any deteriorating asbestos parts as soon as possible.
  • Keep asbestos sheets wet to prevent release of fumes and fibers.
  • Use proper equipment when cutting up asbestos e.g. tools that will not cause too many fibers to be released.

 

In some cases, you may find that you have been exposed to asbestos without your knowledge. In this case, you should visit a doctor to get information on how to reverse any side-effects you may be suffering. You should also talk to the Environmental Health Officer concerning proper asbestos disposal and to lodge any complaints on deteriorating asbestos in your neighborhood. Finally, you should either remove and dispose the asbestos yourself or enlist the services of an asbestos disposal company.

 

To sum up, taking the proper precautions when working with and disposing asbestos will give you the peace of mind that you will be safe from any harmful side effects.