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Asbestos: Understanding the Dangerous Material
Buildings built before 2000 were constructed with asbestos-containing materials. It was used in fireproofing and insulation. We now know that asbestos causes various health issues. Because of this, people with older homes or businesses are having inspectors test their buildings for fibers. Are you considering hiring someone to test for or remove asbestos? Before you call an inspector, educate yourself with the following definitions.
Asbestos – Six silicate minerals that are naturally produced. These materials are common in construction materials, even today. It is not banned completely in the U.S., but many other countries have taken legal steps to decrease exposure. Health problems occur after someone inhales these fibers.
Asbestosis – A form of pneumoconiosis, which is inflammation of the lungs caused by inhaling metallic or mineral dust over an extended period of time.
Mesothelioma – Once a rare type of cancer, incidences of this illness have increased as more people are exposed to amphibole asbestos. Mesothelioma can be either benign or malignant. It usually affects the lining of the chest, either in the heart, abdomen, or lungs. This illness has been known to take a long time to develop, even as much as several decades.
Malignant – The medical community used this word to describe tumors that are likely to spread or kill the patient. Even with treatment, such growths can invade the tissue surrounding the infected areas.
Benign – The complete opposite of malignant, this type of tumor poses no danger to the patient’s health and is unlikely to grow or spread. You have the option to remove these growths or leave them alone.
Silicate – A mineral formed out of mainly silicon and oxygen. They are usually identified by their crystalline structure.
Airborne – Spread by air. Most patients who developed serious conditions were exposed to air that had been tainted by asbestos.
Asbestos removal, also called abatement, must be performed by a specialist. It is a toxic silicate that causes a rare form of malignant lung cancer called mesothelioma. The silicate went into things like floor tiles, ceilings, and even fireproofing chemicals. The particles become airborne where anyone in the building can be exposed to them. Inspection and removal are important to prevent damage to your health.
The dust particles enter into peoples lungs. Many areas outlaw the use of this substance in housing materials, but some older commercial, schools, and residential properties still have the material inside the ceiling tiles and in the insulation of homes. If you're purchasing an older home, it's best to have a professional inspect the home to make sure the material is not posing a risk.
Mesothelioma is a lung cancer that forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testes. The lungs are the most common site for the malignant cancer. It's an aggressive cancer that does not respond to treatment. Most men and women diagnosed with this disease were exposed to the dust particles from materials containing asbestos. However, the dust sticks to clothing and is easily transported to other areas. Lawsuits involving this disease are numerous. Symptoms following exposure include difficulty breathing and chest pain. Ask your doctor about early screening if you work in an environmental situation where you may inhale the dust or dangerous mold spores.
Before purchasing any home or business, ask if the building's been tested for asbestos. Highly trained professionals learn how to remove the material using special equipment while wearing masks that prevent them from breathing in the airborne particulate. If the particles are present, it's best to have a professional safely remove it and clean the entire site before you move in.