Asbestos has been used in many applications over the years. From industrial products to commercial products, asbestos is really one of the most versatile materials. Asbestos is actually several different minerals that share the same fibrous quality. These fibers are strong and heat resistant. This is why asbestos was once the choice material for products that needed to be near heat or were susceptible to a lot of friction.
One such application is electrical cloth. Electrical cloth is used to insulate electrical wiring. This way, if a short were to occur, the electrical cloth would not catch on fire due to the flame retardant properties of asbestos. However, once the dangers of asbestos were made known, electrical cloth was made out of non-toxic materials.
All of the years of asbestos electrical cloth exposure, however, have had negative effects on certain members of society. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to numerous health problems including various forms of cancer and pleural effusion. Pleural effusion occurs when extra fluid accumulates in the area around the lungs. This can be extremely painful and cause additional health problems.
Asbestosis is another problem caused by asbestos exposure. It involves inflammation and scarring caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. This can eventually lead to breathing problems and even heart failure. Lung cancer is also an obvious result of asbestos exposure. Symptoms often do not present themselves for 30-40 years making it especially dangerous. You could potentially have the makings of an asbestos-related cancer for years without even knowing it.
Mesothelioma is another form of cancer that is asbestos-specific. It affects the membranous lining of the chest and abdomen. There are no other known causes of this cancer type. Following asbestos exposure, mesothelioma may not present symptoms for 10-40 years. However, once symptoms are present, the disease is usually progressed to the advanced stage and prognosis is grim at best.
Even though electrical cloth may not seem all that dangerous, if it contains asbestos, it most certainly is. Any shredding or deterioration of that cloth can cause the asbestos fibers to spread into the air, and that’s where the danger is. As you now know, inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers can lead to numerous health conditions.
If you think any of the wiring in your home may be coated with asbestos electrical cloth, first of all—don’t touch it! Second, seek professional help. You may not have to do anything until the cloth is at risk for being friable or falling apart. Just remember: don’t touch it!