The Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral fiber that was used heavily in building applications and automotive applications because of its ability to resist heat and corrosion. According to OSHA, asbestos was used most commonly in insulation, roofing shingles, home siding, vinyl floors, cement, caulk, spray-on coating, car brakes and clutch pads before any serious side effects were discovered. This put building contractors, automotive workers, shipyard employees and construction workers in danger of developing life-threatening health issues. Since asbestos was banned, however, the people most at risk for exposure to asbestos are homeowners who are still living in the homes and using the products that were once made with asbestos.
Asbestos in Older Homes
Houses built between 1930 and 1950 most likely have asbestos insulation, but if your home was built during a different time period, you are not necessarily in the clear. The Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that asbestos may also be present in gas fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, oil or coal furnaces, stove-top pads, and pipe coatings or covers. If any repairs were made to your home’s floors or ceilings prior to 1977, asbestos may be present in the adhesive, caulk or sealant that was used as well.
How to Protect your Family from Asbestos
The best way to protect yourself and your family from asbestos is to maintain your home so that any asbestos-containing materials are left undisturbed and in good condition. Asbestos is not dangerous to be around unless it becomes airborne, because at that point it can be inhaled. If the asbestos fibers are contained and undisturbed, they pose no danger.
Keep an eye out, because if you do notice things like chipped tiles, peeling paint, broken flooring or falling shingles on your older home, there may be a danger of asbestos exposure. Additionally, water damage to these materials from a leak or flood can pose a health risk as well. As a homeowner, there is no way for you to know if asbestos is present. This is why it is best to bring out an expert to take a sample and determine if there is any health risk.
If asbestos is discovered in these areas that need repair, abatement professionals should be called in to seal off the area and remove the materials properly. This will keep your family safe from inhaling any fibers. Additionally, strict laws govern the disposal of asbestos, which means that even if you wanted to try to remove it, you would not be able to do so because legally you cannot dispose of it yourself.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs or tissue in the abdomen and results from prolonged exposure to asbestos. Victims are most often exposed to asbestos on the job or while living in a home that has it, but symptoms do not begin showing until 20 to 30 years later. Every year 2,500 to 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with Mesothelioma, and are dealing with the health consequences and financial burden of living with the disease. Mesothelioma treatments exist, but for many people there is no cure. Mesothelioma litigation lawyers can help you get the settlement that you need to live more comfortably and provide for your family during this tough time.
This article was contributed on behalf of Shrader & Associates, your number one choice when looking for help with asbestos related lawsuits. Click here and see how they can help you!