Asbestos is a dangerous material that is common in older constructions and causes serious health risks to those who are exposed to it. Perhaps you’ve heard about this material but aren’t aware of exactly what it is or the hazards that are associated with exposure to it. Here is a look at asbestos and what you should know if you’ve encountered it.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the name of a collection of minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion. Because of their temperature-resistant properties, these minerals were used in a variety of common building materials and household products, from insulation to floor tiles to vehicle breaks. Asbestos was used liberally throughout the late 19th and early 20th Centuries until it was discovered that it caused cancer and other health problems to those who are exposed to it. The FDA cracked down on the use of asbestos in the 1970s, however many older buildings built before then still contain the dangerous material.
What are the Health Risks of Asbestos Exposure?
Asbestos produces microscopic fibers that can be easily inhaled by those exposed to it. These fibers can be harmful to your lungs and cause a disease called asbestosis, which causes a severe cough, shortness of breath, and permanent lung damage. Asbestos is also known to cause a form of cancer called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor that forms in the lungs, chest, or abdomen as a result of asbestos exposure. Although mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, it has a high mortality rate, which is what makes it so serious.
Who is at Risk for Asbestos Exposure?
Anyone who is exposed to asbestos is at risk for potential health complications. If the exposure is minimal and the material is discovered before those who are exposed you’ve inhaled enough fiber to do damage, the impact may be minimal. But anyone who has been exposed to asbestos fibers for an extended period will likely suffer some lung damage or other complications. Groups that tend to be at risk for asbestos exposure are those who work in construction or deal with insulation and other materials in older buildings, veterans who may have been exposed to asbestos in countries without asbestos regulation, or anyone who works or inhabits a building that was constructed before the mineral was banned. If you believe that your home or workplace may contain asbestos, there are plenty of resources you can utilize to have suspicious materials tested. Likewise, if you have been exposed to the material against your will by an employer or other authority who has not taken the proper precautions, you can take legal actions. Law firms like Sokolove Law have resources you can utilize to get the justice you deserve.