What is asbestos?
You may or may not have heard of Asbestos before. So, what is it? Asbestos is a naturally occuring mineral. The fibers of the material are resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion. This is great as asbestos has a lot of uses, but it also happens to be extremely toxic. The characteristics of this toxic mineral make it a great insulation medium for items like cloth, paper, cement, plastic, etc. Inhaling this material is extremely unhealthy as it is nearly impossible to remove once it becomes trapped in the body. The inhalation of asbestos is exclusively linked to Mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer.
Where does it come from?
This toxic material was mined in North America, but today it is most commonly exported from the following countries: China, Russia, and Kazakhstan. It is found naturally in large quantities or as a contaminate in other minerals. Most commercial asbestos deposits contain 5-6% mineral. However, there are some deposits that hold up to 50%. That’s a lot of toxicity! Legally speaking, there are 6 different types. Little known fact, asbestos was a commonly used material in the 1930’s into the 70’s, particularly on Navy ships. This unfortunately led many veterans to be disproportionately affected by asbestos-related diseases.
What are the risks of exposure?
Some asbestos-related diseases include:
- Abestosis: According to the Mayo Clinic, it, “is a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Prolonged exposure to these fibers can cause lung tissue scarring and shortness of breath.”
- Pleural Effusions: According to Medline Plus. Gov, they are, “a buildup of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity.”
- Pleural Plaques: Are, according to the British Lung Foundation, is “a thickening of the balloon-thin lining of the lung”
- Pleurisy: This one you may have heard of, “is a condition that causes the two large layers that separate the lungs from the chest wall become inflamed,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease): According to the CDC, COPD is, “a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.”
While many of these diseases can have other underlying causes, they have all been directly linked to exposure to this toxic material.
What to do if I suspect Asbestos?
If you are interested in completing a remodel and suspect asbestos in your concrete, tile, roofing, sealant, or plastic, contact a professional to have it examined right away. At Paveman Designs, if there is any suspicions of asbestos, we will get a sample of the material and send it off for testing. Once the result comes back, we will line up an abatement (removal) with our abatement company to have it removed safely. This ensures the maximum amount of safety for you, your family, and our install team!