In the 20th century, asbestos was a preferred substance that was used in a number of industries that spanned the gamut, from construction and shipping to the auto industry. From the early 1900s to the seventies when the government stepped in to regulate its use, it’s estimated that asbestos was used in the manufacture of more than 3000 products. Many of these products were used in the construction industry in the form of tiles, ceilings and other lesser visible parts of the house, like the insulation that covers its HVAC system.
Asbestos’ popularity as an insulation material can be traced to the fact that it is a poor conductor of heat, and therefore, is ideal in situations where resistance to heat transfer is necessary. Among the many products that were manufactured using the “magic mineral” were valve rings.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, any product that contains a percentage of asbestos greater than one percent is regarded as containing asbestos. Consider the fact that asbestos is used in so many components in the construction business, and you begin to understand why it would be impossible to get rid of all traces of asbestos in our daily lives. This is especially true if you live in or have constant access to a building which has asbestos containing components.
The logistics of ridding older buildings that almost certainly have many asbestos related products used in their constriction are mind boggling. There are more than likely dozens of products used in a large commercial building that contain this highly toxic substance. Not only is the number of products large, but they are also hard to remove. Asbestos, when disturbed or broken down, releases highly toxic particles into the air. Environment protection and asbestos experts warn that attempting to remove asbestos on your property on your own is highly risky. Asbestos abatement should only be undertaken by qualified and skilled contractors who have the necessary equipment and protective gear to conduct the abatement procedure.
These fibers are so toxic, they can stick to the clothing and body of the person who’s around them, and can be inhaled by family members. There are thousands of people in fact, who have suffered what is known as para occupational exposure or second hand exposure to asbestos. Much like passive smoking, where an individual is exposed to cigarette smoke exhaled by a smoker in the vicinity, secondhand exposure to asbestos has also led to many cases of asbestoses and mesothelioma.