Asbestos and its risks

What is asbestos

     Many people are still unaware of the risk associated with asbestos. This article will help you understand what asbestos are and their health effects. Asbestos mainly refer to six types of naturally occurring minerals. These minerals are comprises of fine, durable fibers that are resistant to heat, flames and many chemicals. It has been a prevalent mineral used in construction because of the fact that it is durable, adaptable, and resistant to chemical attack, an incredible insulator and can withstand high temperatures.  The name comes from the Greek dialect meaning ‘un-extinguishable’.

     Asbestos has three main types – the white asbestos also known as chrysotile, blue asbestos also known as crocidolite and the brown asbestos known as amosite. The blue asbestos is considered the most dangerous, because of the very sharp and fine structure of its fibers.

Every one of the six sorts of asbestos minerals has common characteristics. All types of the mineral are don’t have a taste and are not scented. When asbestos is available in a material or item, it can’t be recognized by a visual examination and need to be tested in a laboratory. These properties frequently make it hard to determine the exact risks of asbestos exposure. Any exposure to any of the group of minerals may lead to pleural mesothelioma and other infections such as or asbestosis or lung cancer. Asbestos will probably be found in buildings built or restructured before the year 2000. People who are involved in building maintenance are potentially at risk if they disturb asbestos. The risk lies in any activity that disturbs the asbestos fibers, including evacuation, drilling, sanding and cutting.

Health effects of asbestos

     Taking in asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.  As the number of fibers inhaled increases the risk of contracting these diseases increases too. The danger of lung disease from breathing in asbestos fibers is also greater if you are a smoker. Individuals who get health problems from asbestos inhalation have been exposed to considerable high levels of asbestos for a long period of time. Most signs of these health problems do not usually show up until around 20 to 30 years after the first exposure. Most of the asbestos poisoning occur in asbestos workers; but, there are some evidence that family members of these workers heavily exposed to asbestos may face the risk of developing mesothelioma, because of the exposure of asbestos fibers that has been brought into the home on the cloths, body or hair. Also people who live near a mine are also at a high risk.

If asbestos are in stable material they pose little health risk. However, when bonded asbestos sheeting are damaged or mishandled fibers may become airborne posing a risk to health. Asbestos might be found in some parts of the building like, ceiling, tiles, roofing sheets, fire protection area of structural steel, in paints and textured coatings, insulating boards on doors for fire protection, structural steel, wallboards, cements that have been used as corrugate roof panels, water tanks, gutters, pipe etc