Before we get to dig deeper into some of the major facts of asbestos, let us first shed light into the substance itself. Asbestos is a group of six naturally occurring fibrous materials made of microscopic fibers. It has over the years been one of the major materials in most of the building sites for insulation, flooring, roofing (Sprayed on ceiling walls), fireproofing buildings among many other uses. When in its pure form, asbestos is mixed with products such as paper, cloth plastic, and cement, so as to make the end product stronger. Check out Contractor Culture for more of what you can construct with Asbestos. Here are 4 things you should, however, know about this substance.
1. Asbestos Presents A Major Health Risk
A substance that once used to be referred to by many as “The Magic Mineral” is now referred to as a “Killer Mineral” and “Health Menace”, just to mention a few. When the asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they are lodged into the tissues of the lungs and stomach. Due to their needle-like form, they do not leave the body.
When inhaled, the fibers cause scarring of the lungs which leads to heart-related problems, pain, and difficulty in breathing and cancerous tumors in the lungs. It can as well lead to serious ailments like:
- Mesothelioma – Asbestos fibers cause tumors which leads to Mesothelioma. This tumor is cancer which attacks the thin lining of the surrounding affected organs, in this case, the stomach and lungs.
- Asbestosis – This is the deep scarring of the lungs caused by inhaling of the asbestos fibers. Victims affected by this disease have difficulty breathing which ends up suffocating them.
2. Asbestos Conditions Are Often Undetected for Decades
Most of the asbestos victims are mostly construction workers or hvac workers who have already developed various diseases due to prolonged exposure. Most of them live for decades unaware of their condition. It can take up to 20 to 50 years to develop which makes it much more difficult to treat as the diseases are mainly discovered when in the last stages.
3. Asbestos Becomes Hazardous Only When Tampered
There are still many old buildings all around the world which contain asbestos. When not tampered with or disturbed, asbestos display no harm. Friable asbestos can easily be crumbled when exposed to high pressures which makes them airborne. Once inhaled, it will lead to asbestos-related diseases.
4. Asbestos is Still Being Mined
Even with its hazardous nature, asbestos is still one of the resources legally used in developing countries in Africa and a few countries in Asia to construct cheap houses. This is mainly because it is a low-cost substance and is still effective in construction due to its nature. Asbestos remains a resourceful commodity in many developing countries. If you want to use it for constructing your house, ensure you employ the services of a qualified and certified professional to help you minimize exposure. In case of any or suspected exposure, visit a physician knowledgeable with the same as soon as possible.