What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals that can be pulled into a fluffy consistency. It is fire and heat resistant, making it a useful additive. Asbestos also works well as an insulator.
Asbestos fibers have been mixed into products to make them stronger such as paper, and building materials like cement, drywall, plastics, and paints. Asbestos was also used for automobile brakes and linings.
The danger of asbestos comes when someone inhales or ingests asbestos dust. The fibers can become trapped in their lungs forever causing inflammation, scarring, and an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer almost exclusive to asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure can also cause other cancers.
The high-risk workgroups for asbestos exposure are construction workers, firefighters, industrial workers, and shipyard workers. Since 1971 regulations in US have reduced the risk of exposure in the workplace but asbestos is not banned. Asbestos is still found in buildings, homes, schools, factories, and roads.
Asbestos fibers cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted – all of which you want to avoid due to the adverse health risks. If you suspect asbestos, you’ll want to call in a professional asbestos inspector. The only way to determine if asbestos is present, is to send a sampling to a lab for determination.