Wednesday, May 20, 2020

How Asbestos Hiding In Your Walls Can Affect Your Health

Asbestos is a hazardous substance that people should avoid as much as possible. Breathing in this mineral can cause the fibers to get stuck in the lungs and aggravate the lung tissues. As a matter of fact, asbestos is not generally considered a harmful mineral unless it is releasing fibers or dust in the air where they can be ingested or inhaled. Inhaled asbestos fibers are carried into the lower sections of the lungs where they can weaken the respiratory function and health.

The fibers are resistant to chemicals, heat, and fire, and occur naturally in the environment. The threads are used in industrial and commercial application and have been used commonly in many industries. Asbestos exposure can happen to anyone. In fact, even the asbestos in the walls of your house can harm you, but how might there be asbestos in your house and how does it affect your health?

Asbestos Can Be Found In Your Home And Other Places

There are a lot of places where asbestos is used in construction, and there's a possibility that your own house may contain asbestos. Asbestos was used in drywall manufacturing as late as the 1970s. If your house was built before 1980, be aware of the high likelihood that there's asbestos in your house before you decide to demolish old walls or reconstruct the basement,

Old construction materials containing asbestos usually include plumbing fixtures, vinyl floor tiles, boiler and fireplace insulation, drywall and cement sheets, attic insulation, electrical panels, putties, caulking and plaster materials, and popcorn ceilings.

However, new homes are also constructed with common construction materials containing asbestos nowadays, such as sheets and pipes, pipeline wrap and millboard, roofing and flooring materials, and cement shingles. That's why before remodelling your house, hire a professional to safely discard asbestos from your home.

Asbestos is also used for soundproofing and fire prevention in churches. It is added to acoustical panels to make them more durable and to soften the reverb and echo of music in churches. Some schools and public buildings, such as shopping malls, restaurants, airports, barbershops and hair salons, movie theaters, and grocery stalls also have asbestos-containing construction materials.

Asbestos Can Cause Serious Diseases

The smallest and deadliest asbestos fibers can't be seen by the naked eye and requires a microscope. There are also six different types ofasbestos: chrysotile, actinolite, crocidolite, tremolite, amosite, and anthophyllite. In addition, asbestos is also categorized as a carcinogen, which means that it’s a cancer-causing substance. The following are the diseases caused by inhaling asbestos:
  • Mesothelioma. This is a rare form of cancer that usually occurs in the lungs and chest cavity (pleura), the thin membrane linings of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum), or other membranes around the internal organs, and seldom in the heart. People who work or live near asbestos mining areas, shipyards or product factories that use large quantities of asbestos have a high risk of mesothelioma. The signs of mesothelioma cancer from asbestos may appear 30 to 40 years after exposure, so consider getting legal help in case this happens to you.
  • Lung cancer. This causes deadly tumors that attack and block the air passages in the lungs. People who are exposed to asbestos and other carcinogens, such as tobacco, have a higher risk of lung cancer than people who are only exposed to asbestos. Symptoms include fever, chest pain, chronic cough, weight loss, shortness of breath, and anemia. 
  • Asbestosis. Inhaling asbestos fibers can irritate lung tissues and cause scarring in the lungs. This creates difficulty for the carbon dioxide and oxygen to pass in and out, and breathing becomes difficult. People who work in demolishing and repairing buildings that contain asbestos or those who experience excessive exposure over a long period of time have a higher risk of asbestosis. Symptoms are a dry breaking sound in the lungs and shortness of breath.
To fully comprehend the seriousness of the risk that asbestos poses to your health, consider the death rates related to asbestos exposure from 1982 to 2000. Out of all the cases that were documented, blacks had a 448% increase in death rate, while whites witnessed a 342% increase during this period. Most deaths involved people aged over 45 years old.

Determining Factors For Asbestos-Related Diseases

Depending on the environment, people can be exposed to asbestos in different places. Some encounter occupational exposure during their jobs, others enlisted in the military experience exposure during the construction of military ships, and several workers come across product exposure where products contain asbestos. Other types of exposure are talc exposure, and secondary exposure where fibers stay on the skin, hair, or clothes.

There are also factors that determine the likelihood of developing asbestos-related diseases such as the following:
  • The duration of exposure. The longer you are exposed to asbestos, the higher the number of fibers that can enter your body and cause asbestos related diseases.
  • Smoking history. People who smoke and are exposed to asbestos have a higher risk of developing lung cancer because of synergistic effects. 
  • Age. When younger people inhale asbestos, they are more likely to develop mesothelioma. This is the reason why efforts are made to prevent children from being exposed to asbestos.
  • Type of asbestos. It is suspected that some types of asbestos are even worse than common white asbestos, known as chrysotile. 
  • Genetics. According to researchers, genetics mutation also plays a role because not everyone with prolonged asbestos exposure develops dangerous asbestos-related diseases.
As some people work in industries where they are exposed to harmful minerals such as asbestos, and others can be at risk due to asbestos in their own homes, it is important to be enlightened about how these minerals affect your health. That’s why visiting your doctor, getting regular medical exams, having vaccinations against pneumococcal pneumonia and flu, and quitting smoking is important because it contributes to your overall health and wellness.

This is a guest blog entry.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome.