Health Risks From Asbestos Exposure

Perhaps, it is difficult to find a person, who doesn’t know about the spheres of asbestos use. Insulating materials, protective clothing, shoes, textile products, fire-retardant, asbestos cement pipes, roofing materials etc. There are two types of asbestos in nature – chrysotile and amphibole. The last one, getting into a human respiratory tract, enters the lungs and remains there almost forever. The asbestos consists of invisible to the naked eye fibers and has a light texture. Its half-value period is 150 years or more.

The inhalation of asbestos fibers at the first stages may cause a respiratory affection and may result in the development of deadly diseases, including two forms of cancer. For the first time the issue of the asbestos insalubrity raised in the late twentieth century. This, of course, has caused great concern. By that time, asbestos has so many applications in all industries and construction (from brake pads and gloves to water supply, sewerage, roof tiles, and many other building materials). Asbestos fibers have been used as a building material since the beginning of XX century to the early 1970s. They were used as insulation for the walls and tubes as refractory material for manufacturing of soundproof ceiling panels and as a component of paints. At that time, asbestos was used during the construction of all buildings. Thus, people were constantly exposed to its harmful effects at their homes, at work and in any other public place. Gradually, people start to perceive this fibrous material as one of the most dangerous substances known to a mankind.

The asbestos exposure causes a specific disease – asbestosis. It is a chronic lung disease that is caused by the inhalation of microscopic asbestos fibers that affect the lung tissue. Besides, asbestos provoke cancer of the larynx, pharynx, mouth, pancreas, kidney, ovary and the gastrointestinal tract. American Lung Association reports that prolonged asbestos exposure doubles the risk of lung cancer for smokers. Cancer can occur in 15-30 years after the inhalation of asbestos, it may cause such a rare type of cancer as mesothelioma – a tumor that affects the pleural lining of the lung or peritoneum (abdominal). Mesothelioma is rapidly spreading over the chest or abdomen and there are no effective methods of treatment.

Asbestos has a negative impact on health, only if its fibers are released into the air. Asbestos particles, trapped in the air, held in suspension for more than 20 hours. Today, development companies use another harmless building materials instead of asbestos, so you will not find it in the new buildings. However it still remains in old constructions. During the construction, demolition and renovation works in buildings, many tiny asbestos particles that are invisible to the naked eye rises in the air. If you try to get rid of the asbestos, concentration in air may increase significantly, exacerbating the negative effect. That is why all works connect with the asbestos removal must conduct by skilled construction personnel.

D.Tokareva for Bruce Environmental Inc. asbestos removal decatour county