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Asbestos Health Risks

Asbestos has been proven to be one of the most harmful elements found in homes around the country, causing certain types of cancer and other illnesses.

What is asbestos? Asbestos is fibrous, naturally occurring, chemically inert minerals that occur as bundles of strong, flexible fibers that do not burn, therefore providing good insulation properties.

Although asbestos is said to be relatively safe if it is not handled, is still intact, taped over or painted, the potential for the harmful release of fibers is always a possibility, especially when it becomes friable, meaning it can be crushed or pulverized into powder with no more than the pressure of a hand. possibility that fibers can be released into the air causing risks of asbestosis and an increased risk of cancer.

Exposure to asbestos fibers that are released into the air increases the likelihood of contracting lung cancer or mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is cancer of the abdomen or chest. Classified as a harmful carcinogen to humans by the U.S. EPA, the symptoms of asbestos related illnesses may not become evident until decades after the initial exposure.

The inhalation of no more than one asbestos fiber increases the risk of developing cancer, although this statement may be misleading because thousands of asbestos fibers may be breathed in each day in urban areas.

Asbestos can be found in acoustic ceilings in older homes, vinyl flooring, insulation around pipes and on boilers, roofing materials and siding, and inside walls and ceilings of older homes.

Asbestos cannot be determined by visual inspection alone. If you think your home may have asbestos in it, you should have samples tested in a qualified laboratory. If the material is in good condition in your home, it may be a good idea to leave it in place.

If it is deemed necessary to have it removed, the removal should be performed by a state licensed asbestos removal contractor. A certified asbestos consultant should be hired and a review of safety procedures should be mandatory. Strict guidelines for asbestos removal should be followed.

In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) announced a phased ban of asbestos products to be completed by 1996.

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