For many years, construction sites were riddled with asbestos products. It seemed like no matter where you turned, asbestos was everywhere. It made sense at the time; asbestos was one of the best insulators and fire-retardant materials on the planet. It still is.
However, at what cost?
By the 1970’s, it was clear that asbestos posed a serious health threat. People from all walks of life were stricken with asbestos-related illnesses, many of which led to death. It was decided that asbestos could not be used in the manufacture of any new products. However, this decision did not mean older homes and buildings would not contain asbestos. Many structures still house this harmful material in the form of asbestos lap.
Asbestos lap is used in many construction projects. It is a textile, and is often made into asbestos yarn, cloth or rope. Protective garments such as aprons and gloves often have an origin in asbestos lap. While you would be hard pressed to find these products on the market today, it is vital to be aware of the dangers posed by asbestos lap.
Asbestos lap is already a textile and therefore much more likely to fray. When any material containing asbestos frays, it sends microscopic asbestos fibers into the air. People can inhale these fibers or ingest them. After awhile, these fibers can cause inflammation in the lungs and lead to a variety of health issues and diseases.
One of the most noted conditions, caused only by asbestos exposure, is mesothelioma—a form of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen, heart and lungs. Mesothelioma often carries with it a death sentence because it is usually not diagnosed until symptoms manifest and once symptoms are present, treatment options are typically limited. Asbestosis is another condition that can result from asbestos exposure.This illness is characterized by severe lung inflammation, difficulty breathing and possible heart failure.
Many other types of cancer can result from asbestos exposure including lung cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer and various gastrointestinal cancers. Regardless of a lack of immediate difficulties after exposure to something containing a material like asbestos lap, it can take up to thirty years—sometimes more—for the symptoms of asbestos exposure to present themselves.
Exposure to asbestos is a very serious matter which is why most products containing it have been replaced with safer alternatives. If you suspect there are products containing asbestos lap in your home, don’t try to remove them. Call a professional to have the materials identified and removed safely.