Things to Know About the Dangers of Asbestos
Our planet is filled to the brim with minerals. While many of them are absolutely harmless and make our life easier, the same can’t be said for some.
There is a chance you have heard about the mineral known as Asbestos, which is considered one of the most dangerous minerals found on Earth. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Asbestos, including why many countries have banned it and what makes it harmful.
What is Asbestos?
So what exactly is Asbestos? Technically speaking, it is a commercial and legal term used to describe six different mineral types that are fibrous. The natural question to ask next is what does it mean when a mineral is fibrous? In short, it means the mineral could be pulled apart easily. According to Asbestos.com, there are two mineral families of Asbestos; Serpentine and Amphibole.
The six different minerals that form the Asbestos group belong to one of the above mentioned two families. Interestingly the single type of Asbestos from the Serpentine family is Chrysotile. Where Anthophyllite, Tremolite, Actinolite, Amosite, and Crocidolite belong to the Amphibole family.
Why is Asbestos banned?
Asbestos is hazardous for our health due to its physical properties. The reason is that when it deteriorates, it releases small fibers into the air. These fibers can be inhaled or ingested, and if they get trapped in the nose or throat, there’s no problem as it can be removed. However, if it goes deep into the lungs or gets swallowed, it becomes highly problematic as these fibers could cause a variety of health problems.
Because of the adverse health effects, the Environmental Protection Agency banned certain uses of Asbestos in 1973, and nearly all Asbestos based products were banned by 1989.
As mentioned above, Asbestos is extremely harmful when inhaled or ingested, and this commonly happens when Asbestos is available in powdery or fibrous form. But what about situations when it’s available in a tiled format or, to say in another way, “is Asbestos tile dangerous”?
In short, Yes and No. Asbestos, when in tile form, is not dangerous as it cannot be inhalable or ingestible. However, if the tile is broken, drilled, or damaged somehow, the consequences can lead to particles being released into the air in its powdered form, and therefore, it would be dangerous for our health.
What are the different diseases caused by Asbestos?
There are three common diseases caused by Asbestos, and they range from acute to life-threatening in severity.
- Lung Cancer
It is a severe non-cancerous disease that happens when asbestos fibers are inhaled. They aggravate lung tissues and cause a decrease in the elasticity of the lungs. It makes the whole breathing experience more challenging. People who have fully developed Asbestosis would experience additional symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, reduced lung function, finger clubbing, or a bluish skin condition.
This disease is highly prevalent in people involved in the mining, milling, and manufacturing sectors. Due to regular exposure to Asbestos on the job, long term detrimental effects on their bodies can take their toll years after they quit working. As asbestos sets in the body due to prolonged exposure, the chances of lung cancer increases later in life.
It is a rare form of cancer that forms in the thin membrane lining of the lungs, chest, abdomen, and sometimes in the heart. As per statistics, almost 10% of people involved in manufacturing asbestos-based products contract this disease.
Dealing with Biohazards and Contamination
In a situation where Asbestos may be present, it is always best to reach out and engage with qualified professionals. If in doubt, having a professional test the material before removing or repairing it is always in your best interest. Remember, Asbestos is a dangerous substance, and it’s best to take every measure to limit its usage and exposure. It can prove to be fatal, especially for construction workers, if not handled carefully.
Using trained & certified Asbestos removal and abatement professionals could save you thousands from both the adverse health risks and the legal liabilities from exposing others or improperly disposing of the material.