Despite the fact that regulations have been in place since 1971 regarding how much asbestos workers can be exposed to and what types of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) can still be manufactured, up to 15,000 Americans are still dying from asbestos exposure each year. Not only are many workers still at risk, but many families could also still be exposed to ACMs that are within the four walls, flooring and ceiling tiles of their homes.
For this reason, familiarizing yourself with the potential risks of asbestos exposure as well as the proper way to test for and get rid of ACMs in your home, business or other structure are crucial steps in minimizing your and your family’s risk of asbestos exposure and associated health complications. Read this article for more information.
How Can I Be Exposed to Asbestos?
Asbestos becomes the most dangerous and biggest health threat when its tiny particles are dispersed into the air. Thus, any time you disturb asbestos-containing materials that might already be in your home during a renovation, for example, you and your family could be at risk for inhaling the harmful particles. This is why calling in professional asbestos testing and asbestos abatement teams are an important first step before starting any major demolition or renovation project yourself.
Additionally, many workers are still being exposed to asbestos on a regular basis, especially those who work with older structures and building materials. Some of the highest-risk occupations for health problems associated with asbestos include:
- Construction workers
What Are the Health Effects of Asbestos?
A specific type of lung cancer called mesothelioma remains the leading cause of asbestos-related deaths, and has accounted for more than 45,000 deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2015. The first signs of mesothelioma can take years or even decades to develop, which is why this disease is more commonly seen among people over 85.
However, there continue to be cases of people as young as 35 who are beginning to show signs of the negative effects of asbestos, which means that people today are still being exposed to this dangerous substance. In fact, children are at the greatest risk for developing asbestos-related health issues later in life, as their lungs and respiratory systems are still developing.
In addition to mesothelioma and other types of lung cancers, asbestos can negatively affect your health in many ways, including:
- The formation of plaques in the lining of the lungs
- A condition known as “folded lung”
- Increased risk of developing laryngitis
- Reduced immune system function
IRIS Environmental Laboratories
The bottom line is that many people don’t realize that asbestos is not a thing of the past—it remains a very real public health threat today. If special care is not taken when working with or around ACMs, you could risk developing related health complications down the road.
If you’re about to start a home renovation project or are concerned about ACMs in the workplace and the safety of your employees, start by having the space tested for asbestos by a certified environmental testing laboratory. Then, if asbestos is found, hire a team of asbestos abatement professionals to properly handle and remove it from your home or other building.
Still have questions about the effects of asbestos or how to initiate the asbestos testing process? Please feel free to send us a message, or give us a call at (908) 206-0073.