Asbestos is still an underestimated and lesser-known hazard to the home and health – yes, we’ve all heard it’s bad and could cause problems, but as to why, and to what extent, are questions few people can answer with satisfaction. If you haven’t thought about it, it’s normal, but we should be talking about it more. It kills about 5000 people a year, after all, and around 20 people die each year because of exposure in the past. Whilst a lot of the country has been in clean-up mode, the substance can still be found in houses that were refurbished previous to the year 2000. It’s time to understand the problem. Here’s everything you need to know about asbestos and its dangers to your home and health.
Where’s the danger?
Make no mistake, the danger is real. A person with prolonged exposure may not even feel the results until years later, when the cause is long gone. When asbestos is present, fibres are released into the air and then breathed; they slowly but surely work on the body and cause a wide range of diseases. Often it’s too late to do anything once it’s been diagnosed.
What can it do to us?
A variety of diseases and ailments can result from over-exposure to asbestos; many of them are very serious and life-threatening. Here are just some of them:
Mesothelioma. Your lungs have a lining – mesothelioma sets in when this lining develops a form of cancer that surrounds the lower digestive tract. It’s almost always fatal.
Lung cancer. Lung cancer can be caused by many various culprits, smoking being the most popularly known. However, just like smoke, asbestos fibres destroy the lungs and can cause lung cancer.
Asbestosis. This condition is marked by the constant scarring of the lungs due to constant exposure to the fibres that asbestos float into the air.
Plural thickening. This happens when the lining of the lung thickens and swells. It’s common after heavy asbestos exposure and results in the squeezing of the lungs, making it hard to breathe.
It’s important to look around your house and identify problem areas. But you will only know the full gist of the problem with proper asbestos reports from professionals. Inside, it can often be found in cement water tanks, the pipe lagging, the toilet seat, vinyl floor tiles, around the boiler. Outside, the dangers often lurk in gutters and downpipes, exterior window panels, and so on. The only way to be sure is to have professionals evaluate your residence for any problem areas – it’s the only option if you want to be sure you live in a clean, asbestos-free house. You need to eliminate the problem, as there’s too much at stake.
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