Home LifeHealth What Is Asbestos And How Does It Affect You?

What Is Asbestos And How Does It Affect You?

by Yolando B. Adams

Asbestos is considered dangerous in a home. Before 1978, the hazardous material had been used in most homes. This is why home inspections are needed when purchasing an old house. To fully understand the dangers brought by the material, we’ll discuss in detail what is asbestos and how does it affect people.

Asbestos

Before banning asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral that can resist heat and corrosion. These characteristics are the reasons why the material had been used in most home construction during the 1800s. In the construction industry, asbestos has been used as a mix of cement and plastics. Mixing asbestos with these two materials was believed to strengthen the final product.

In addition, asbestos was to insulate, fireproof, and absorb sound in construction spaces. This is why the material was used in most homes before the 70s ban came. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) prohibited the use of asbestos in insulation walls to prevent the release of the material’s toxic fiber into the environment.

When 1989 came, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced a total ban on the material regardless of how it is used. To reduce students’ exposure to the material, the EPA has ordered the inspection of most school systems built before the 80s.

Before the pan, everyday products with asbestos are floor tiles, door gaskets, steam pipes, shingles, and sidings. Homes that were constructed in the 30s and the 50s may have used asbestos for insulation. Additionally, asbestos may be seen in textured paint and artificial ashes in gas-fired fireplaces.

How dangerous is asbestos

The Oregon State University shares the danger of inhaling asbestos. When inhaled through the lungs or ingested and trapped inside the body, asbestos can be dangerous for an individual’s health. Asbestos fibers may be released into the air when asbestos-containing materials become damaged or broken.

The Minnesota Department of Health that it is best to treat all kinds of asbestos as dangerous. When inhaled or ingested, asbestos does not trigger any immediate symptoms like coughing, sneezing, or even throat itching. The only way to know the existence of asbestos is by using special tools.

Health complications related to asbestos

Three diseases are commonly associated with the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos. This includes asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a lung disease that happens when the asbestos fiber is inhaled and lung tissue scarring occurs. This will usually show through shortness of breathing.

Other symptoms of asbestosis include persistent dry cough, clubbing of the fingertips and toes, chest pain, and loss of appetite. When an individual consistently experiences shortness of breathing, it may be time to consult the doctor. However, symptoms of asbestosis will not usually appear quickly. It may take years of continued exposure before mild or severe symptoms show.

Most of the individuals who developed asbestosis acquired the disease before the 1970s. This is the direct result of the ban of the use of the material during this era.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the worst disease that an individual can acquire through asbestos exposure. Contracting the disease is lethal. In general, people who developed lung cancer because of asbestos exposure are the miners and laborers involved in producing the material.

People who have lung cancer usually experience coughing and a change in breathing patterns. Like asbestosis, people with lung cancer may also experience shortness of breath and chest pains. Additionally, lung cancer patients may develop anemia and hoarseness in speaking.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer. The difference is that it affects the lungs, abdomen, testicles, chest, and sometimes, the heart. The other difference with lung cancer is that sometimes, lung cancer can be caused by other carcinogens such as smoking. Mesothelioma, on the other hand, is always usually linked with asbestos exposure.

Because mesothelioma is usually caused by asbestos exposure, most individuals who get the disease are those miners and workers from asbestos factories. In addition, those who used to be involved in asbestos insulation installation have been prone to the disease, too.

Mesothelioma’s symptoms include shortness of pain, chest pain, and fatigue. An individual with the disease may also experience high fever and sweating during the night. Persistent cough and loss of appetite may be experienced, too.

When the disease affects a person’s abdominal lining, that individual may experience diarrhea, stomach ache, constipation, and an unexpected weight loss. When mesothelioma is suspected in an individual, several tests may be conducted by the doctor. This will include a CT scan, x-ray, and laparoscopy.

Asbestos is a material that shouldn’t be used without caution. Understanding the information discussed above ensures that you can avoid any risk when handling it when needed.

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