Asbestos, a set of six minerals often used in fireproof and heat resistant linings, coverings, and products, is very dangerous to human health. Despite its wonderful properties to withstand heat and fires, asbestos fiber and particles, when inhaled, accumulate in the lungs. These fibers and particles are quite big, and the lung cannot expel them automatically. Aside from size, asbestos fibers are particularly sharp-making it easy for them to puncture and penetrate lung tissues.
Over the last few decades, it has been proven that asbestos is the cause of several fatal diseases, including several types of stomach and lung cancer, mesothelioma (a rare cancer that afflicts the protective lining that surrounds the major organs in the human body), and asbestosis (or asbestos poisoning, often heralded by an unusual shortness of breath, chest pains, clubbed fingers, but its main effect is the scarring of the lung tissues because of asbestos inhalation). It is estimated that 100,000 people die a year because of asbestos-related illnesses in the United States alone.
Asbestos was widely used in the construction of buildings, ships, motor vehicles, and even houses. Though the effects of asbestos inhalation will not be immediately visible-thanks to the illnesses’ long latency period-it is very dangerous to expose young children to such health risks. The latency period sometimes extend up to 30 years, and if your children are aged 5 to 10, the side effects and health problems will pop up when they are at the prime of their lives. Check removal of asbestos in Adelaide.
Often, asbestos is found in the home through the insulation placed on the roofs, attics, walls, and ceilings-but asbestos manufacturers have found a lot of other usage for the mineral in the home. These materials or furnishings will not be readily obvious to you. Here are a few places to look at:
- Asbestos blanket. This “blanket” is often found around steam pipes, boilers, and furnace ducts. As mentioned above, asbestos has amazing heat-resisting capabilities, so it will be typically used to line furnaces and other materials that regularly deal with heat, steam, or fire.
- Floor tiles. This application of asbestos often surprises homeowners-they do not expect the backing or adhesive of floor tiles to be highly dangerous. Vinyl, asphalt, and rubber floor tiles may sometimes contain asbestos fibers, and sanding the tiles off or chipping them may release the fibers into the air.
- Artificial embers. The artificial embers and ashes used in gas-fired fireplaces may often contain asbestos-and can be highly dangerous especially for people who like sitting in front of the fire in cold nights.
- Soundproofing materials. Sprayed soundproofing materials on the walls and ceilings of your home will release asbestos fibers when sanded, drilled, or even scraped.
- Cement roof or siding tiles. If the house you are currently living in is constructed between 1940 and 1950, the builders may have used cement tiles that contain asbestos. You do not need to worry about releasing the hazardous fibers from these tiles, unless you saw or drill them. If they are on the verge of being damaged, it might be safer for you to put new sidings over the tiles.