Asbestos has been long used because of its great ability to resist heat and flame. This made it the logical choice for use in materials that could succumb to extreme temperatures. For instance, ceilings and walls that were near furnaces or stoves were often fabricated from asbestos millboard. This greatly reduced the risk of fire in homes all over the world. However, using asbestos products puts you and your family at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and several other forms of cancer.
While asbestos was a practical material to make many products from, in the 1970’s it was banned in most respects and can no longer be used in the production of new products. However, there is still asbestos in homes all over the country. Much of the time, this is simply due to a lack of awareness. People just do not know there is asbestos in their homes. However, it is very important that even if you think there may be asbestos in your home, that you don’t go and seek it out.
While it is admirable that you’d want to get all of that asbestos out of your home to protect your family, you’d probably do more harm than good. A lot of the time, asbestos that’s been in place for years is perfectly fine. It is not at risk of fraying or sending its fibers into the air. However, if you go in to remove the asbestos millboard, or what have you, it is possible that you’d damage the material in the process. This could stir up the fibers, making it easy for them to be inhaled or ingested.
It is when these fibers are taken into the body in some way that problems can arise. People who’ve worked around asbestos for years often come down with asbestosis, a condition that causes inflammation of the lungs and heart failure. Even more serious is mesothelioma, a form of cancer that’s only known cause is asbestos exposure. This cancer attacks the membranes around the heart, lungs and abdomen.
What is most troubling about asbestos, is that exposure could have occurred years ago and you could still be at risk. You could feel perfectly fine. Symptoms often don’t develop for many years following exposure, making treatment of asbestos-related diseases difficult, as it is often begun during the later stages of an illness.