Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Asbestos Awareness Week(April 1st-7th)

I was asked if I was interested in writing a post concerning asbestos for Asbestos Awareness Week. Obviously, it's a bit past April 7th, so I'm late to the game. I was assured that asbestos awareness is an important topic any time, though, so it's better late than never in this case! ;)

Jonathan loves to watch those remodeling shows. Fixer Upper and Property Brothers are his favorites. Truthfully, I enjoy them, too, though I catch them in bits and pieces. Jonathan is one of those people that change the channel every couple of minutes, so I try not to pay too close attention to the TV when he has the remote. (Frustrated sighing is guaranteed when the channel changes mid-scene!) ;) I have noticed on many of the episodes that asbestos is a huge concern with the old houses. I know it's serious stuff, because they bring in the professionals with extreme protective gear.

Until doing a little research I didn't know much about it, though, other than the fact that it's very dangerous and it was used in insulation in older houses. Did you know that it was also used in roofing shingles, floor tiles, ceiling materials, cement compounds, textile products, and automotive parts? I didn't. I was surprised to discover it was used even more widely than I first thought, and find that more scary.

While I assumed that our home was built well past the "danger" timeframe, I was horrified to learn that asbestos still isn't banned in the US, even now. There are still about 30 million pounds used each year, and asbestos exposure is STILL the number one cause of occupational cancer in the US. While I'm not surprised to know that asbestos is still within homes, I'm disappointed to know that it is still within many schools and buildings. Imagine all the teachers and children that are at risk!

While no amount of exposure is safe, it turns out that asbestos must be inhaled to pose an immediate danger, and therefore must be loose. Asbestos is invisible to the naked eye, so you won't even know you're inhaling it. Tiles, where the asbestos is intact, isn't super hazardous, unless one is sawing/cutting it, sending the fibers into the air. This is why those that worked in factories before it was discovered how dangerous asbestos was, were put in great danger. Their families were put in great danger, too, since these fibers were brought home on clothes. Asbestos fibers from things like insulation and ceiling tiles are more easily breathed in, though, and I imagine are much more dangerous within one's home and within schools. These tiny fibers get inside one's respiratory system, and they aren't easily broken down by the body. They cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. It's pretty scary to think about!

After knowing more about asbestos, I can't help but think about older houses/buildings catching on fire, or being torn down by DIYers, and the amount of asbestos fibers that are sent into the air. I can't help but be concerned about family members that are living in older houses right now, and think about the old house falling apart very near our home.

If your home was built before 1980, or you believe there might be asbestos in your home, DO NOT try to remove it yourself! You will need to contact an asbestos consultant for testing to see if there is asbestos, and if so, hire an asbestos removal contractor. Asbestos isn't something you want to be careless with.

Do you have any history with asbestos, or any stories/information to share? I'd love to hear from you!


Sources: (I used these to do my research for this post.)

Visit these sites to learn more about asbestos, and how you can help spread awareness.

This site will answer questions, such as "What is Asbestos?", "Why is it Hazardous?", "Who is at Risk?", and "What Health Conditions are Associated with Exposure?". There's all kinds of information here!

Here you'll learn some ways you can help spread the word through social media.

This site will teach you more about mesothelioma.

There are also many links within each of these places to learn more!



1 comment:

  1. My husband watches tons of those shows, too. Property Brothers being his favorite. :)