According to Mark Roemer Oakland, several health organizations have classified asbestos as a carcinogen and the government has put regulations that limit the use of asbestos. However, the use of asbestos is still prevalent in the manufacturing and building industries due to its ability to strengthen plastics and cement, provide insulation, absorb sound, and make textiles, military vehicles, and buildings fireproof.
Here are a few reasons why asbestos is still a cause for concern:
- Exposure to asbestos leads to harmful health complications – Asbestos fibers become harmful only when they break down into tiny particles and become airborne. When you inhale these particles, they collect in the lungs and cause inflammation and scarring.Long-term exposure to asbestos has been known to cause many deadly health conditions such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, a form of cancer affects that stomach and chest lining,
pleural disease, a type of non-cancerous lung condition that causes the build-up of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion), and asbestosis which permanently scars and damages the lungs.
- Many people are at risk of asbestos exposure – Due to the regulations put in place by the government, normal homeowners don’t get exposed to significant levels of asbestos fibers as often. However, people who have to deal with asbestos directly are at significant risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses.
These include professionals who work at fabric milling, shipbuilding and naval services, the auto industry (brake repair), railway construction, building demolition, asbestos mining and milling, firefighting, construction, and building trades, and more.
- Several factors increase the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases – The longer you are exposed to asbestos, the higher the risk of you developing asbestos-related diseases. Apart from that, if you have any pre-existing lung condition or if you smoke regularly, you are at a higher risk.
People who have been exposed to significant levels of asbestos fibers even for a brief period can show symptoms of asbestos-related diseases. Certain people with rare genetic mutations are also at a higher risk. Lastly, if you work in an industry such as sawing or drilling that releases asbestos into the air, you are at a higher risk compared to if you work in an industry that only involves bonding asbestos into a product such as tiles or walls.
- Asbestos-related diseases may remain symptom-free for many years – Many people can remain symptom-free for about 10 to 40 years after being exposed to asbestos fibers. Symptoms of asbestos-related diseases include shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing or prolonged hoarseness, loss of appetite, change or development of cough, pain in the abdomen or chest, swelling of the neck and face, fatigue, and more. Contact your healthcare provider or a doctor immediately if you notice any signs or symptoms of the kind mentioned above.
Mark Roemer Oakland suggests you leave asbestos materials in your home if they exhibit no damage or deterioration and are in good condition. However, if you notice the material crumbling, don’t try to get rid of it on your own since you can risk releasing the fibers into the air. In such cases, it’s recommended you hire an asbestos professional to handle the issue.