Asbestos and Air Quality

asbestosOn behalf of The Mesothelioma Center, I’d like to thank Mr. Papaleo and his team for the work they do to clean up the air. Here at our organization, we spend much of our time spreading the word about the devastating effects of airborne asbestos, and we certainly wish more companies took such a health-conscious initiative.

Each year, 3,000 Americans are given a mesothelioma prognosis after being exposed through the inhaling or ingesting airborne asbestos. Perhaps fewer people would be facing the life-threatening disease if more companies had been conscious about the air.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, but it’s extremely durable and heat-resistant. Companies used to mine the fibers and use them for industrial production. At first, they weren’t aware that they could cause health complications. However, as time went on and the fibers were linked to several cancers, the companies simply hid the fact that it was a toxic material.

Without knowing the dangers, hundreds of thousands of workers continued to work with asbestos throughout their careers. These people now have an elevated risk for lung cancer, asbestosis and similar illnesses.

Unfortunately, these health risks aren’t a thing of the past. While the United States now has regulations for how much asbestos can be used and what products it can be used in, it’s not illegal. (If you ask us, it should be.) That’s why it’s more important than ever for homeowners, business owners and industrial workers to know the risks and how to avoid them.

In a nutshell:

• Thousands of industrial and commercial products, from insulation to plumbing, once contained asbestos. If these products are structurally disturbed, they can release asbestos into the air.

• If anyone inhales or swallows airborne asbestos, the fibers can get stuck in the body. Asbestos-induced inflammation and genetic changes can cause illness up to 50 years after exposure.

• Protective gear can prevent airborne asbestos from getting into body. This gear (which includes respirators and face masks) should be worn any time a construction or home renovation project poses the risk of disturbing asbestos containing materials (ACMs).

• Professionals whose line of work may put them in contact with asbestos are required to take asbestos certification classes. Participants learn where ACMs may be located, how to handle them without creating an exposure hazard, and how to clean up their worksites so their customers’ homes are not contaminated with asbestos debris.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can reduce your risk of exposure while installing air-purifying systems, head over to Asbestos.com.

Faith Franz is a researcher and writer for The Mesothelioma Center. She advocates for alternative medicine and encourages patients to explore all of their treatment options.

 

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