You may or may not have heard about the potential hazards of asbestos and the negative effects it can have on health, but many people don’t exactly know what asbestos is or where can it be found. Expanding your knowledge about asbestos can help you realize when you are in a dangerous environment for exposure that could lead to serious health problems down the road.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate minerals that is found naturally in rock and soil. It has been mined in the past, as it made for a useful ingredient in certain materials in construction projects. Asbestos can be used to help make materials less flammable and help insulate them. It was seen as a miracle product, and added to a slew of construction materials including roofing shingles, floor and ceiling tiles, hot water and steel pipes, and cement.
Why Should I be Worried?
Concerns over the use of asbestos in construction products started to arise in the 1930s and 40s, and as deaths began to rise and researchers began connecting the dots, asbestos was finally removed out of products in the 1950s. Exposure to too much asbestos will increase your risk of developing life threatening lung diseases over a long period of time. The three diseases most common diseases that have been connected to asbestos exposure include lung cancer, mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, and asbestosis, a non-cancer disease, but is a serious progressive and long term disease of the lungs. The most dangerous part about asbestos is that symptoms do not develop until many years down the line from exposure.
What Can I Do?
Being around materials that contain asbestos usually isn’t enough to be concerned about. However, things change when construction projects are being done. If you ever need to enter an environment where asbestos may be present, be sure to wear all the protective gear necessary.
If you feel that you may have been exposed to asbestos conditions in the past, be sure you check in with your doctor for a physical examination. They can identify living, work or environmental risks you were exposed to in the past that may put you at greater risk, and can give you a chest x-ray test and other function tests to diagnose your health risks.