Asbestos refers to a group of six minerals that occur naturally made of soft, thin fibers. Asbestos in old buildings is used as a building material in homes, industries, and institutions. When demolishing an old building, you’re likely going to encounter asbestos on concrete walls, pipes, tiles, among others. This white mineral, if disturbed, can be released into the air in the form of dust. You can easily inhale this dust if you stay near the source.
Before it got banned in the 1970s, people preferred using asbestos in many housing materials to cement, plaster walls, and ceilings. It was good at resisting heat, strength, and fireproofing. Nowadays, asbestos is not used in homes since it is a health hazard. This article is going to cover the dangers of having asbestos in your home. If you need asbestos removal services in Brisbane you can check iSeekplant.
Health Hazards Associated with Asbestos
In its calm state, asbestos does not pose any health risk. It will remain intact on the walls, ceilings, and tiles without releasing the dust fiber. Asbestos is dangerous when disturbed since it becomes “friable,” releasing dust fiber into the air. When you inhale this dust fiber, it goes directly into the body, causing fatal diseases. Let’s now look into these 5 hazards caused by inhaling asbestos fiber.
1. Inhaling Asbestos Gradually Leads to Lung Cancer
Having asbestos in your home can expose you to this dust fiber when you contact equipment with asbestos. When you inhale asbestos dust for long, the dust keeps accumulating in your lungs. The fiber dust doesn’t affect you at the initial stages. It might even take 10 to 20 years before it starts to damage your lung cells. The lung cells eventually turn cancerous and might even spread to other body organs.
Most cases diagnosed with lung cancer are a result of inhaling asbestos dust over a long time. People who worked in mining and manufacturing areas that used asbestos have higher cases of lung cancer.
2. The Risk of Asbestosis
Dealing with equipment in your home that has asbestos can lead you to the danger of contracting asbestosis. Asbestosis is a non-cancerous lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers for a long time, leading to the lungs’ scarring. Asbestosis makes one experience difficulties when breathing due to shortness of breath, coughing, and tightened chest. Just like lung cancer, asbestosis can take more than ten years before showing its initial symptoms.
3. Mesothelioma Infection
It is rare cancer that occurs on the outer layer covering the lungs, abdomen, and in rare cases, the heart. There are approximately 3,000 people in the US diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. All those diagnosed with this disease have a history of asbestos exposure. Asbestos fiber causes inflammation and cell damage around the lung’s outer membrane. Mesothelioma takes 20 to 50 years before the first symptoms manifest.
4. You Risk Contracting Laryngitis
Laryngitis, also called laryngeal cancer, is the inflammation of the larynx (voice box). Although excessive smoking and alcohol consumption are the leading factors known to cause laryngitis, exposure to asbestos fiber leads to the disease. People exposed to asbestos for handling equipment that uses asbestos in their homes are highly likely to contract the disease. Asbestos fiber penetrates the voice box by inhaling or swallowing and accumulates there, forming a protective layer on the squamous cells. These cells eventually become cancerous leading to the disease.
5. High Chances of Getting Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is known to be among the top cancer-related diseases leading to many deaths among women. Many other factors contribute to ovarian cancer; among them is asbestos exposure. Women who worked in mining and manufacturing areas that used asbestos are at a high risk of getting the disease. Similarly, women and girls who live in homes and use equipment containing asbestos dust are also at a higher risk. The dust can stick on their skins or clothes, and if exposed to open cuts in the body or their reproductive systems, it travels to the ovaries through the bloodstream and reproductive tract, respectively. The asbestos fiber then accumulates in the ovarian tissue causing inflammation and cell-damaging and eventually ovarian cancer.
Though asbestos does not always pose health risks, it is always advisable to handle it with care. There are several dangers associated with using asbestos in your home. You can contract fatal diseases like lung diseases, laryngitis, and ovarian cancer if exposed to asbestos fiber through inhaling or swallowing. As a homeowner, you should always observe the necessary precautions before touching or working with walls, ceilings, carpets, or water pipes with asbestos.