Asbestos in Firebricks

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You’d be surprised by just how much asbestos was used in all aspects of life. Regardless of industry, asbestos no doubt played a role at some point. However, with the discovery that asbestos had severe health consequences when a person was exposed to it, the substance was banned from many products during the 1970s. Even so, it is still possible to find asbestos in many homes to this day.

Firebrick is one such possibility. Firebrick is used to line fireplaces, furnaces, kilns and boilers as a precautionary measure. Should a fire get out of control, the firebrick is meant to keep the fire contained within the designated space and not spread to the rest of the house or building. There’s no doubt about it: firebrick made out of asbestos worked. However, when these firebricks were broken down or apart, they fragmented into dust. Because asbestos was present in the bricks, it would release tiny fibers into the air. These asbestos fibers were known to cause numerous diseases. Moreover, firebricks containing asbestos were often cemented into place with furnace cement that also contained asbestos.

Whenever boilers or other heating devices needed to be torn down, the firebrick was crushed and destroyed, sending tons of fibers into the air. This created undue hazard to workers and anyone in the nearby vicinity. At present, firebrick is made from ceramic, but it may still be possible to find boilers and furnaces with asbestos firebrick in them.

As you probably already know, asbestos has been linked to numerous forms of cancer including lung, stomach and intestinal. Lung cancer is probably the most prevalent in those exposed to asbestos because of the way the fibers typically enter the body—through inhalation.

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer of which the only known cause is asbestos exposure. The symptoms of mesothelioma vary and can include shortness of breath, coughing, pain in the chest, irregular heart rate, weight loss, abdominal swelling, fever and irregular breathing. However, the prognosis is often not very good considering the symptoms of mesothelioma only appear once the disease has become advanced.

Asbestos exposure is a very serious matter. Exposure now could affect you from 10 to 40 years from now. Many times, those diagnosed with an asbestos-related problem do not think earlier exposure is to blame. Asbestos can and will do damage in your body. So if you think asbestos firebrick is used in a furnace or boiler near you, do something about it by calling in professionals.