When you hear the word asbestos, what do you think of? The most typical response is some sort of industrial material, insulation or fireproofing material. However, asbestos has had many more uses than these over the years. Thousands of products have contained asbestos. While asbestos was certainly a versatile material that had excellent insulating and fire-retardant properties, it was found to be very dangerous to human health.
Emulsion adhesive is an example of a material that often contained asbestos in previous years. Emulsion adhesive was a material that was used as a bonding agent to bond tiles to wood. It was quite effective in this regard and was used to bond the flooring and roofing for many homes and businesses. However, in the 1970s, it was found that asbestos posed a real health risk and was banned in most applications. That is not to say that you can’t find asbestos today. Quite the contrary. Asbestos can be found all over the place even now. A lot of the time, this is simply due to a lack of updates. It should be noted, however, that if asbestos emulsion adhesive appears to be in good condition, it should probably be left alone. The real danger comes with the installation and removal of emulsion adhesive.
When emulsion adhesive is installed or removed, it can kick up dust or emit fibers. Asbestos fibers can become lodged in the lungs. When this occurs, inflammation can develop and lead to scarring. This is called asbestosis. Several types of cancer can also result from asbestos exposure. Lung cancer is quite common as is stomach cancer and colorectal cancer. Because the asbestos fibers are either inhaled or ingested, these areas are prime candidates for the development of cancer.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is specific to asbestos exposure. It affects the delicate lining that surrounds the heart, lungs and abdomen. Symptoms may not appear for up to thirty years following the exposure. When symptoms are present, the disease it usually quite advanced, making the prognosis not very good.
Emulsion adhesive is one of many types of products that have been known to contain asbestos in the past. Even though asbestos is now banned in many forms, it is still a wise idea to keep a look out. If you think there may be asbestos in your home, seek professional assistance.