In a lot of older buildings, asbestos is common. This is because up until the 1970’s asbestos was the choice material for constructing heat resistant and insulating materials. It was a natural choice, then, to use asbestos in the homes of millions. However, when the dangerous health effects of asbestos became known to the public, it was banned in most forms. However, this does not mean that asbestos does not still pose a real threat.
Asbestos is still contained in many homes in the form of boiler insulation. Boiler pipes were often covered in insulation to prevent fires and to keep energy costs down. Even if you do have asbestos boiler insulation in your home, you probably don’t have to worry. However, if the boiler insulation is damaged in any way, it could potentially emit tiny fibers that can get trapped in a person’s lungs. It is these fibers that can cause irritation, inflammation and a whole host of diseases.
Many types of cancer can result from asbestos exposure. Lung cancer, stomach cancer, esophageal cancer and colorectal cancer just to name a few. However, one of the most rare types of cancer is specifically associated with asbestos exposure. It is called mesothelioma and it is the formation of malignant tumors in the membranes that surround the heart, lungs or abdomen.
Symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where it developed. If it has attacked the lungs, it is called pleural mesothelioma and can cause chest pain, shortness of breath and the accumulation of liquid in the tissues surrounding the lungs.
Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the tissues surrounding the abdominal cavity and it characterizes itself by weight loss, swelling, bowel obstruction and edema.
Treating mesothelioma is often difficult because symptoms usually don’t present themselves until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. This makes the likelihood of recovery slim for many patients. Even worse, mesothelioma is often hard to diagnose, making it all the more difficult to catch in time to treat with minimally invasive treatments.
It is important to be aware of the real dangers of asbestos and how they might affect you. Even though the boiler insulation in your home may be fine, it is important to be aware of the possibility of its instability. That way, when the time comes that asbestos-containing products need to be replaced or contained, you can go about dealing with it in the safest manner possible—by calling in a professional.