In the 20th century, asbestos was a popular material for home builders. It has excellent insulating properties, and it’s naturally fire retardant. Unfortunately, it’s also rather dangerous. So much so that it’s been banned in more than 50 countries around the world. For homeowners, it can be pretty stressful to consider. So how do you know when you should be concerned?
The Health Consequences of Asbestos
To understand why it’s dangerous, you must realize the consequences of asbestos exposure. When the fibers enter your lungs, they can embed within the tissue. The damage results in large amounts of scarring and eventually tumors. Asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer can all be caused by the material.
Asbestosis is an inflammation. It affects the tissues of the lungs so strongly that the swelling can result in continual shortness of breath along with coughing and pain. Mesothelioma, on the other hand, is a type of lung cancer. Your lungs are surrounded by a special membrane that keeps them safe and controls input and output for the cells. The membrane is affected by this kind of cancer, depleting the lungs’ condition. Over 100,000 people are killed by these diseases annually.
Gauging The Risk of Asbestos in Your Home
Homes built prior to the 1980s will likely contain asbestos in some form. Many building materials included it, and you may be surprised to know that it could be lurking in your:
• Ductwork (many old systems feature white tape holding portions together; this fabric is most often found on metal ducts)
• Floor and ceiling tiles
• Roofing and siding
Even if you’ve got examples of each of these, does that mean you’re automatically at risk? Actually, it doesn’t. There is a small chance that even brief exposures could have consequences, but it’s not very likely. Those who are afflicted with one of the big three diseases almost always have extended records of exposure. The most prominent source to blame is asbestos mines and mills. Workers within the facility as well as those in charge of transportation, received the greatest about of exposure. Other industries were affected too, however. Any product that contained asbestos, such as automobiles and ships, exposed workers to contamination.
Even if they weren’t involved directly, people could still be impacted from afar. When family members worked with the substance, they often endangered everyone in the household by unknowingly dispersing fibers from their clothes and hair. Those living near mines or mills faced lots of exposure too.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that everyone will come in contact at some point, and the majority of people are unaffected. Continuous exposure at high levels is what creates the conditions for disaster.
Just in case…
If a suspicious material has you worried, don’t be afraid to call the professionals just in case. At $25 Plumbing, we also specialize in heating and air conditioning. Since old ductwork is the most common source of asbestos in American homes, we have the knowledge you need to keep your family safe. We’re more than happy to replace your outdated system with modern, efficient, and asbestos-free materials.