Being in contact with asbestos does not pose a health risk in itself. In fact, if the fibers remain together they are not harmful, but the problem appears when this material is worn or manipulated (break, cut, demolition), as it remains in suspension or even adheres to clothing, so the risk that being breathed increases. Asbestos is considered an invisible enemy since the effects are not immediate, but diseases appear after ten, twenty, thirty, and even forty years. Asbestos is carcinogenic, so people exposed to it can get lung cancer.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a component of fiber cement, a construction material known as uralite. This material is made up of fibers that, when decomposed, turn into microscopic fibrils and can remain in suspension for a long time, which can pose a respiratory risk.
You have to be careful when you are doing a home improvement project and avoid getting in contact with asbestos. If you are unsure of what to expect while undergoing your project, then it is best to hire a professional home improvement expert. Asbestos could be inside your walls, and you do not know.
Asbestos fibers could enter the body, mainly by inhalation, although they can also do so through the digestive tract when swallowed. Exposure to asbestos has been shown to be responsible for four diseases:
- Pulmonary fibrosis or asbestosis
- Fibrosis and pleural plaques
- Lung cancer
- Malignant pleural and intestinal mesothelioma
You can read more about the symptoms below. Asbestos exposure has also been linked, although less conclusively, to cancer of the larynx, digestive tract, and kidney. Malignant mesothelioma, despite being a rare type of cancer, is the one with the most evident association with asbestos, so that the incidence rate of this cancer in a country is a good indicator of the exposure to asbestos of its population. On the other hand, both lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma are tumors with a very poor prognosis, and with poor survival. Both have a very long latency period, that is, many years can pass between exposure to asbestos and the onset of the disease.
Therefore, before you demolish a bathroom structure or any other building structure, it is important to know what you are working with. If you want to renovate your basement, for example, and it has not been inhabited since you moved in, you should hire a professional to check for asbestos. If you are a home improvement professional or homeowner, and you have been exposed to asbestos, there are ways that you can be compensated for your illness, but you have to consult with an attorney.