Health Concerns Associated With Asbestos

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At Aerolite, we’re proud to provide home inspections that cover numerous important areas. From mold and radon testing all the way to basic energy audits, our pros can help ensure your home is both healthy and environmentally friendly.

One of our most common services? Asbestos testing. Asbestos fibers can enter the body through breathing, at which time they can be trapped in the body and can lead to significant health issues in some cases. In this blog, we’ll go over the basic health effects asbestos can cause, plus the primary factors in whether it might affect you.

Health Concerns

Asbestos is considered most harmful to the body when it’s “friable,” which is another way of saying that it can be easily crumbled by hand. This is when it will release fibers into the air. So for instance, sprayed-on asbestos insulation found in some homes will be highly friable, while asbestos floor tile will not be unless they are disturbed in some way – but there are risks of this everywhere in the home.

Asbestos fibers are incredibly hard to destroy – the body is unable to break them down or remove them once they are present in the lungs or other tissues. Instead, they stay in place and can cause three primary diseases:

  • Asbestosis: A serious, chronic respiratory disease that scars the lung tissues. Symptoms include shortness of breath, trouble breathing and even eventually cardiac failure. There is no cure, and the condition is usually disabling or fatal. Risks are minor for those who don’t work with asbestos, luckily.
  • Lung cancer: People who have been exposed to asbestos are at higher risk for lung cancer, and potentially a much higher risk if they are also exposed to another carcinogen like cigarette smoke.
  • Mesothelioma: This is a rare form of cancer, nearly every case of which is linked to asbestos exposure. About 10 percent of all workers involved in the manufacture of asbestos products will have these issues.

Factors in Developing Diseases

There are three big factors that affect your likelihood of developing one of the conditions listed above:

  • Amount and duration of exposure: This is the single largest factor. The more and longer you are exposed to asbestos, the higher your risks are. Know, however, that there is no such thing as a “safe” level of asbestos.
  • Smoking: If you smoke and have been exposed, your risks are far higher than those who do not smoke.
  • Age: The younger you are when you inhale asbestos, the more likely you are to develop mesothelioma.

For more on asbestos risks, or to learn about any of our asbestos testing or home inspections, speak to the pros at Aerolite today.