I was contacted recently by the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center. They wanted to share information about the dangers of asbestos exposure in your homes, offices and schools. Below is an article they wrote for mom go green which gives valuble information on the dangers and how to stay safe.
Asbestos wasn't really on my "green" radar, so I am very thankful to them for reaching out. It is quite pertinent.
The following is written and provided by the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center
As homeowners and parents, we find ourselves worrying about all sorts of issues that may negatively affect our health, our children’s health, and our environment. It seems that there is always a “new” issue to consider: do I only purchase organic food? Do I switch to all-natural cleaning products? The questions are endless and keep coming, but in the midst of the many new concerns and issues, it is also important to understand the health implications of a longstanding issue, one that many people do not even consider – the dangers associated with asbestos exposure. Previous exposure to asbestos is the only conclusive cause of pleural mesothelioma, a fatal type of cancer.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that also happens to be highly toxic. Naturally found in mines, asbestos was popular because of its excellent insulating capabilities and was found in a variety of construction materials including insulation, acoustical plaster, drywall compound, roofing tiles, floor tiles, and even in certain brands of duct tape. Despite a ban on asbestos use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the early 1980s, asbestos-containing products may still be found in over 35 million U.S. residences, as well as inside commercial buildings, older automobiles, and our children’s schools. In fact, it is safe to assume that any structure or vehicle constructed prior to 1980 contains asbestos.
What’s so dangerous about asbestos? If disturbed or damaged during a home renovation project or as a result of fire or flood, asbestos-containing products can release tiny asbestos fibers into the air, putting individuals who are present in the area at risk of inhalation. If inhaled, the claw-like structure of asbestos fibers allows them to potentially cling to the pleural lining of the lungs for decades before an individual may begin to experience mesothelioma cancer symptoms, including fluid in the lung cavity and a chronic, hoarse cough. What is most disturbing about this disease is that the latent period for mesothelioma is between 20 and 50 years, so a child that is exposed at age 8 may not experience any symptoms until they are well into adulthood. Mesothelioma sufferers do have treatment options, but less than 1% of patients will survive.
If you live in a home that was built before 1980, it is advisable to consult with a certified home inspector to determine whether or not your family may be at risk of asbestos exposure. Do not attempt any asbestos removal on your own; hiring a professional will ensure that the toxin is handled properly and disposed of safely. Parents should speak with school officials and ask to see their asbestos testing records in an effort to ensure their child’s safety while at school.
The Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center features important information related to asbestos exposure and related health implications. Please visit the MAA Center website for additional information.