You’ve probably heard a lot about asbestos and it’s dangers, but do you really know what it is? Most people don’t.
Television ads warn about developing mesothelioma from exposure to the toxic substance. It’s been known as an invisible and deadly toxin, and taking the necessary precautions can help keep you safe.
Here’s everything you need to know about the substance.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found all over the world. Major sources for asbestos mining are found in China, Russia, and Kazakhstan. In the past, the mineral was also mined across North America. There are six different types of this toxic substance: crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, actinolite, and chrysotile.
Despite its deadly attributes, it is extremely useful. It’s fibers are soft and pliable, making it resistant to corrosion, heat, and electricity. These properties make it a great insulator, and so it’s been used as a strengthening agent in cement, vinyl flooring, plastics, paper, cloth, and more.
The Dangers of Asbestos
They present little danger when the fibers are safely trapped inside non-friable materials, like hard flooring tiles. Non-friable materials are those that do not crumble easily, so they stay embedded in the material rather than escaping into the air. The mineral only becomes dangerous in these materials when they are cut into, sanded down, or disturbed in a way that emits airborne fibers.
Friable materials are another matter entirely. The mineral has historically been used in insulation and fireproofing and soundproofing materials, which crumble easily and release dangerous particles into the air continually.
Unlike many other toxic substances, they don’t leave the body once they enter. That’s what makes it so deadly. Once inhaled or ingested, the fibers become trapped inside the lungs or the stomach and are impossible to remove.
Exposure to them doesn’t manifest itself immediately. The health effects may take decades to develop, but they gradually become worse over time and cannot be reversed. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that develops almost exclusively from this type of exposure. Other dangers include:
- Other forms of cancer
- Lung disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Identifying Asbestos in Your Home
You can keep yourself and your family safe from exposure by identifying unsafe levels of asbestos in your home. The good news is that if your home was built after 1980, you don’t have to worry too much. Homes built before 1980, however, could have toxic levels of the mineral and require abatement. The substance is often found in cement, shingles, tiles, textured walls and paint, and insulation in older homes. It’s extremely important to have an older home tested for asbestos prior to beginning any home renovations because of the risk of exposure.
Summit Restoration is Utah’s Expert in Asbestos Abatement
Asbestos isn’t something to mess around with. You should never try to remove materials containing the toxic mineral on your own, since it could present serious consequences to you and your family. The experts at Summit Restoration have got you covered! Our team specializes in asbestos abatement and removal. We serve clients throughout Utah County, including Lehi, American Fork, Orem, and Provo. Contact us today!