February 20, 2019

Asbestos Exposure Continued

Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos Exposure – Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicon-based group of minerals which appears as fiber bundles. When processed, the bundles can be made into extremely thin but very resilient threads. Among the properties they possess are non-conduction of electric currents and remarkable resistance to heat. In addition, asbestos are also known to be highly resistant to harsh chemicals which helps in their durability. Several industries have taken note of these characteristics and consequently used asbestos in a wide variety of applications.

asbestos exposure

Why is asbestos so prevalent?

In the early days, the issues that come with asbestos exposure were not yet known. Asbestos quickly rose in popularity as a fantastic material for insulation and strengthening. Large-scale mining took off in the US in the later part of the nineteenth century and grew exponentially during the Second World War. It was mixed with cement and other construction materials to make them stronger. It also made its way into plastics, paints, tiles and adhesives. Asbestos was extensively used as an additive to roofs for insulation and wall boards for fireproofing as well as sound absorption. Automobile manufacturers used asbestos to toughen up their clutch pads and brake shoes. Alarmingly, it somehow made its way to things like crayons which increased the risk of asbestos exposure for children.

asbestos exposure

What are the effects of exposure to asbestos?

Asbestos becomes dangerous when inhaled. When products which contain it degrade, the fibers may be released into the air and breathed in by unsuspecting people. These fibers can stay logged in the lungs for years, piling up and damaging the tissues. Eventually, the lungs can inflame and get clogged with catastrophic results. Exposure to asbestos can lead to several different types of cancer such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, as well as colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers. Some effects are not as lethal such as pleural plaques, asbestosis, and pleural effusions.

Which people have the greatest risk of asbestos exposure?

Asbestos can be found in many places whether in the city or in the countryside. People are likely to have exposure to asbestos at least once in their lifetime but these are typically not harmful as the amounts are insignificant. Exposure only becomes dangerous when sustained throughout a long period as the fibers accumulate slowly inside the lungs. It is when this reaches a critical level that substantial damage occurs. The people who are truly at risk are the factory workers, shipbuilders, and miners who deal with the material every day. Firefighters, construction workers, and automobile mechanics also face significant health risks.

What factors increase the likelihood of disease development?

As previously mentioned, not all exposure to asbestos will lead to disease. The factors which will determine the probability include dosage of fibers inhaled, duration of exposure, the physical properties of the particular fibers, the origin of the exposure, and the person’s predisposition to lung problems given his medical history. An already fragile lung due to years of heavy smoking and other lung illnesses is more susceptible to damage due to asbestos. It should also be noted that there are different forms of asbestos fibers and while they are all dangerous, some are more harmful than others.

asbestos exposure

Asbestos Exposure Signs

A person suffering from acute asbestos exposure is likely to exhibit the following symptoms: anemia, lethargy, weight loss, swollen neck, lack of appetite, trouble swallowing, chest pains, blood in the sputum, enduring cough, and difficulty breathing. Doctors may recommend a chest x-ray for preliminary diagnosis. If they find that there is sufficient evidence that point to asbestos exposure, they may conduct a CT scan for clearer imaging of the lung damage. However, to actually detect the fibers for certain, either a bronchoscopy or a biopsy must be performed.

Asbestos Exposure Protection

Knowing the dangers associated with exposure to asbestos, various government agencies have come up with regulations to minimize accidental contact with the material. This includes the use of mandatory protective gear for workers in hazardous areas, all of which must pass a set standard. Companies are also encouraged to adhere to the recommend safety procedures. Employees who feel inadequately protected in their workplace can ask for more information or request an asbestos inspection from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA.

asbestos exposure
asbestos exposure

Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos Exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure – Asbestos is used in reference to a group of minerals that are naturally occurring and utilized in products like building materials and motor vehicle brakes, as a heat and corrosion resistant. Asbestos includes amosite, chrysotile, tremolite asbestos, crocidolite, actinolite asbestos and anthophyllite asbestos.

asbestos exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Inhaling asbestos fibers can result in serious diseases that could affect the lungs and other vital organs. The effects of asbestos exposure might not be evident until years after it has taken place. For example, asbestosis could result in an accumulation of a scar-like tissue on the lungs and cause loss of lung function, which frequently advances to disability and death. The asbestos fibers linked to these health risks cannot be seen with the naked eye because of their small size.

Individuals At Risk of Exposure

Employees in the auto repair and manufacturing industries may be at risk of asbestos exposure when carrying out clutch and brake repairs or during the manufacturing process of asbestos-containing products. Within the construction industry, asbestos exposure occurs when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed by workers during the demolition or renovation of buildings. In addition, employees within the maritime environment might be exposed to asbestos when demolishing or renovating ships that were constructed with the use of asbestos-containing materials. In addition, custodial workers might be subjected to asbestos exposure through contact with crumbling asbestos-containing materials. Individuals who smoke have an increased risk of developing certain asbestos-related diseases.

asbestos exposure
Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Commercial and Residential Buildings

Given that it is a valuable fire-proofing, insulating and reinforcing material, asbestos was widely used in construction materials such as:

• Asbestos cement
• Insulation boards
• Drywall joint cement
• Ceiling and floor tiles

Under normal use, these products will not release a considerable amount of fibers. However, fibers can be released if the products are cut or damaged.

Typically, the levels of airborne asbestos fibers in buildings are approximately the same as the airborne asbestos fibers that are outside and they do not pose a considerable risk. However, levels might be higher if asbestos materials are disturbed or if they are easily broken up.

asbestos exposure
Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

In addition, there is concern in regards to vermiculite insulation, which might contain small quantities of actinolite, tremolite or amphibole asbestos. If disturbed, the amphibole fibers might cause health risks. However, no current evidence of health risk is there if the insulation is:

• Isolated in the attic
• Sealed behind wall boards and floorboards
• Otherwise kept from being exposed to the interior or home environment

Removal Guidelines

It is very important to bear in mind that it is not always possible to tell whether a material contains asbestos by just looking. In case there is any doubt that asbestos exposure is possible, the material should be analyzed by a competent professional.

In the event that handling small quantities of damaged, asbestos-containing materials is unavoidable, the following steps will assist in keeping asbestos exposure to a bare minimum:

• Ensure that other individuals and household pets are in no danger of asbestos exposure.
• Make sure that the work area is sealed off to prevent asbestos exposure to other parts of the building.
• Wear the correct protective clothing and this must include a half-mask respirator that has a HEPA or High Efficiency Particulate Arrester filter cartridge, which is approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The filters are categorized as P-100, R-100 or N-100 particulate filters. Using a regular dust mask will not adequately safeguard against asbestos exposure.
• To reduce dust, ensure that the material is wet. It is also important to make sure that the material does not get into contact with electrical energy.
• Whenever possible, avoid cutting or further damaging the materials and avoid breaking them up.
• Use a damp cloth, and not a vacuum cleaner, to clean the work area when the work is done.
• Use a plastic bag to seal the cloth and the asbestos waste. Consult with the local authorities on how to correctly dispose of asbestos-containing waste. Of course, this should be done before the process starts.
• Avoid shaking out clothing as this will spread the dust and put yourself and others in danger of asbestos exposure.
• After the job is finished, throw away or wash the protective clothing thoroughly and take a shower.

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure | Dangers of Asbestos Exposure | Dangers of Asbestos Exposure | Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos Fibers

Asbestos Fibers

What You Need to know About Asbestos Fibers

Asbestos Fibers – What You Need to know About Asbestos Fibers – Asbestos is a material that is made up of long fibers that are flexible and can be woven into many shapes. This material is also heat resistant and very durable. Because of the qualities that this material contains, asbestos found plenty of functions in the commercial industries. Some of the industries where asbestos fibers have been used include the construction industry, power plants, and mining industry and many others.

The problem of using asbestos is due to the risk that comes with age or exposure to harsh conditions that may result in its disintegration. The asbestos can disintegrate into tiny pieces of fibers that could be inhaled very easily by anyone who happened to pass in their vicinity. Because of the way the material is formed as well as its durability, the asbestos becomes a source of toxins in the lungs. Such an issue ends up being causing plenty of health complications in the human body and may not be noticeable until it is too late.

Historically, the dangers of asbestos began being discovered in the early part of the 20th Century. People who dealt with asbestos in any way were found to have respiratory problems as well as some form of cancers. The death rates of these people were also quite high because of the toxins that were in their bodies.


Some types of asbestos fibers are more harmful to the health than other types. One of the worst effects of these fibers is the type of cancer that is known as mesothelioma, which affects most people who have inhaled asbestos over a long time. The cancer is one that so far, has no cure and the survival rates of anyone with this disease are very low.

Other health complications that can arise because of any kind of exposure to asbestos fibers include lung cancer, which is more prevalent in smokers than non-smokers, asbestosis, and other respiratory illnesses. In general, this material is very dangerous to human beings as well as animals.

asbestos fibers

Once the scientific investigations revealed the dangers that were associated with asbestos fibers, many business companies that used this material for commercial purposes stopped using it. Others however, continued using the material for their businesses without any thought to the health and safety of their employees. Because the complications of asbestos fibers usually have a long incubation period, it took a long time for the symptoms in these people to be noticed. Due to the extremely dangerous effects, some governments eventually ended up officially banning the use of asbestos in any capacity.

The problem however, is that there are still very many countries around the world who continue to use it, uncaring of the effects of asbestos fibers among humans. This is especially true among some third world and emerging countries where governments have bigger and more immediate problems to deal with. The same is also true of business people who are willing to cut corners to make huge profits.

asbestos fibers

In places where asbestos has been noticed and there are structures in place to deal with it, the first thing people should do is to avoid removing it on their own. As long as the asbestos has not disintegrated, the people living in that environment are much safer. It is however, imperative that asbestos removal professionals are contacted to deal with the issue.

Due to the highly dangerous nature of asbestos fibers, the area that has this material is usually isolated and covered completely. Big pieces are then removed by hand while everything else is vacuumed out using a special vacuum to avoid leaving anything behind. Every single professional who is dealing with the disposal of the asbestos fibers has to have all the right protective clothing to prevent direct exposure.

In the event that the hazardous asbestos fibers is all over the building, the residents who live or work there are usually evacuated with everything that can be saved. The area is then contained before the professionals can go to work removing the asbestos. At times, the amount of asbestos fibers may be too spread out and impossible to remove. This may necessitate the destruction of the whole building and permanent containment.

There is hope however, since most governments are beginning g to realize the long-term effects of asbestos fibers, on the population. Indeed, this is a material should never be underestimated and should only be removed by professionals who know what they are doing.

asbestos fibers

What You Need to know About Asbestos Fibers

What You Need to know About Asbestos Fibers
Asbestos Fibers

Renovation Solutions: The problem of asbestos in home remodels

Asbestos abatement workers contain the area and must where respirators to protect themselves from the harmful effects of working around disturbed asbestos.

DRL Enterprises, Inc., www.drlenterprisesinc.com

We recently had a reader ask us to highlight the problem of asbestos in private residences, so this is our topic of the week.

Asbestos is a group of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. It is an affordable material that has sound-absorptive properties and is resistant to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage.

The problem with asbestos is its fibrous composition. Fibers form as these minerals cool and crystallize, forming molecules, which line up parallel with each other, creating crystal lattices. When sufficient force is applied, these crystals break along their weakest direction, resulting in a fibrous form. This process of fracturing can keep occurring such that one large asbestos fiber can become the source of hundreds of thinner and smaller fibers.

Due to naturally occurring asbestos and general environmental exposure, we all actually have a large number of these fibers in our lungs, but at some level they become the cause of serious problems such as lung cancer, mesothelioma — cancer of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavity — and asbestosis where lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.

Therefore, it behooves us to avoid excessive exposure to asbestos in any way we can.

Historically, asbestos-containing building materials were not as widely used in residences as in larger commercial and institutional buildings. Since the 1970s, most manufactured products do not contain asbestos. However, in homes built before that time, asbestos can be found in several areas.

For instance, some roofing and siding shingles on older homes are made of asbestos cement. Asbestos was used as insulation in many homes built between 1930 and 1950. It may be found in textured paint and patching compounds manufactured before 1977 (remember those ‘popcorn’ ceilings?), as well as in ceiling tiles. Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and in the backing of vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives. In older homes, hot water and steam pipes may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape. Similarly, metal ductwork may also be wrapped with an asbestos material.

Asbestos has another characteristic, which is significant: It is categorized as either “friable” or “non-friable.” The friability of a product, which contains asbestos, is measured by how weak the structure of the product is — a friable product can be broken with simple finger-crushing pressure. Obviously, the ease with which these products can be damaged relates to their potential danger to the public as microscopic fibers are released into the air.

So, now that we are all paranoid, let’s talk about what to do if you think you have asbestos in your home. Usually, the best approach is to leave any suspicious material that is in good condition alone. Check the material regularly for signs of wear or damage, and if it deteriorates — or if you are remodeling the area — it needs to be dealt with by a professional. If you are remodeling your home, any competent contractor will do a complete survey of the affected area and will advise you if asbestos abatement will be an issue.

If you cannot just leave the asbestos alone, there are two types of corrective action that can be taken. One is repair, which generally means sealing or covering the asbestos so it no longer poses a danger. The other is removal of the product altogether. There are abatement firms that offer testing, assessment, and correction services, though it could conceivably be a conflict of interest to hire a firm for all three services. It may be better to use two different firms — one to assess the situation and another to remedy it.

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Renovation Solutions: The problem of asbestos in home remodels