What is Asbestos and is it Harmful to My Health?
What is Asbestos? Asbestos is a mineral fiber that, in the past, was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance. It can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope.
Can Asbestos Affect My Health? From studies, it has been found that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of:
- lung cancer;
- mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity; and
- Asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.
The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increases with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is also greater if you smoke. People who get asbestosis have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.
Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop these health problems. However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibers can remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of disease. Asbestos material that would crumble easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is more likely to create a health hazard.
Click here for more information on Inspecting your Home for Asbestos and here for What to Do If You Find Asbestos in your Home.
If, at any time, you are concerned about your home and would like an Asbestos Inspection done by Home Inspection Professionals, please contact us anytime at 1-800-HIP-3200 or click here to Request an Inspection via the web.
Additional information can be found by visiting http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/ashome.html