Updated on June 24th, 2019
If you’re tuned in to the news through television, radio, or even the newspapers, chances are you may have heard of the term asbestos. However, you may not quite know what it is, or why it’s even in the news. Read on to find out how it could affect your health, and he steps you can take to avoid it.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance that was widely used in the 19th century in the construction of houses in a lot of developed countries. Its fibrous nature allowed it to be a good insulator for houses and was also used for its other properties. Asbestos is heat, fire, and electricity resistant. Its sound absorptive properties were also one of the reasons why a lot of construction companies used it well into the late 20th century.
However, it was found that asbestos was causing a lot of health issues to residents and other people living in or around homes or other infrastructures that used asbestos as a construction material. As a result, in 1986 the United States created the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. Pretty soon, the use of asbestos when building houses was stopped, and many initiatives were taken to remove asbestos from homes and buildings that had them.
Effects Of Inhaling Asbestos
Asbestos poses a huge danger to anyone who inhales the microscopic fibers. Because the fibers do not have any indicators of their presence such as sight, taste, or smell, a lot of people would inadvertently inhale them.
Upon inhalation, the human body is unable to break down the asbestos fibers, and it can remain in the body for a very long time where it can cause tissue damage. The damage can lead to a host of side effects that can be detected only twenty to thirty years after initial contact with asbestos dust.
Asbestosis is one of the conditions brought about by asbestos inhalation. Because the asbestos fibers can cause scarring to lung tissues, the lungs can often end up shrinking and hardening. This makes it harder for you to breathe, and can even lead to other respiratory problems such as severe fibrosis.
One of the more dangerous side effects of prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers is mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the pleura, which is a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs. Some symptoms can include chest pain, breathing difficulties, and even pain when coughing.
Because most buildings were built in a time where asbestos was a popular construction material, they most likely have asbestos products in them. If you suspect that you are living in a house or a building with asbestos-lined walls, do not try to remove it yourself. To avoid the fibers from scattering into the air, it is best to enlist the help of an asbestos removal specialist.
Dealing With Mesothelioma
If you or anyone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it can be a painful and stressful experience. Of course it is important to seek treatment from licensed medical specialists, but if you or your family or anyone you know believes that the exposure to asbestos was due to the neglect of your builder or landlord, you can seek legal assistance from Ketterman, Rowland & Westlund for powerful legal representation.