What is asbestos, and how it affects your health?
Asbestos is found in rocks and soils – and is a name given to six other elements that occur as fibers in an environment. These fibers are used for commercial and industrial purposes when separated into thin, durable threads.
Due to asbestos’s incredible heat-resistant and insulating capabilities, products made of this mineral have been widely used in various industries. For decades, asbestos was used in textiles, construction materials, and automotive parts.
A few everyday items made with asbestos include car brakes, shingles, wall insulation, heat-resistant fabrics, vinyl tiles, and more. Asbestos does not pose a threat unless it is consumed in a large amount over an extended period.
It only becomes a possible health risk when the material containing the mineral crumbles or gets damaged, releasing microscopic asbestos fibers in the air that are inhaled easily. So, why is asbestos so dangerous? That’s because once you inhale asbestos fibers over long periods, they can stick to the lining of your internal organs.
They get trapped in the lungs and from there cause inflammation and scarring of the tissue. Asbestos exposure can lead to serious health issues, which include mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
How to identify products which contain asbestos?
Asbestos is classified as a human carcinogen, which should no longer be regulated in industries and manufacturing products. Since asbestos was used in construction material, your home may have asbestos-containing materials. People are often exposed to asbestos at their workplace, resulting in a higher risk of mesothelioma.
If you are showing symptoms of mesothelioma, want to know about it, or know a loved one who suffers from it, you must seek help from mesotheliomahope.com as their mission is to inform people about this illness as much as possible
Unfortunately, adults aren’t the only ones at risk of asbestos exposure, and the workplace isn’t the only place of vulnerability. Your children may be in danger of asbestos exposure even in the safety of your house, school, and even playgrounds.
Homes built in the early 1980s are likely to contain asbestos in wall insulations and roofing made with a mixture of asbestos fibers and cement. Children are unaware of these dangers and may pick up small pebbles or play in old sheds with crumbly ceilings.
So, what do you do? Here’s how you keep a lookout for asbestos exposure around your kids and keep them safe.
1. Protecting kids from asbestos exposure at school:
Some older buildings and homes still contain asbestos in walls, ceilings, stoves, and insulation around pipes. Today, schools must ensure that the children are not exposed to this mineral and ensure that old construction material is removed.
Even though this danger lurks under floors and behind walls, you can still protect your children if you understand the risks and how to deal with them. According to research conducted in 2013 by the U.K.’s Committee on Carcinogenicity, children are more vulnerable to asbestos exposure in schools than adults, with a greater risk of developing mesothelioma.
As a parent, you can first check with the school authorities about asbestos in the building. Ask about the school’s asbestos management plan and request them to conduct an annual asbestos inspection. Since schools are not required to remove asbestos materials according to federal regulations until the building is in shambles, you can ensure that the school is in top-notch condition.
Parents should primarily educate their children about asbestos exposure and ask them to report to parents if they see the ceiling falling off or the wall insulation crumbling.
2. Asbestos exposure at home:
School isn’t the only place where your children are at risk of asbestos exposure. If your house was built around the 80s, asbestos might likely be lurking around in the walls of your home. Some potential places where asbestos may be present in your house include:
- Old floor tiles
- Patching compounds and textured paint
- Insulation in ceilings, walls, and around furnaces, stoves, and pipes
- Older dryers and washers
- Roofing siding and shingles
So, the first course of action is to start by determining the source of asbestos exposure in your home. The primary way is to read labels of different products and appliances you’ve had for quite a while and read about asbestos content.
After that, you can call in professionals to inspect and evaluate your house for possible asbestos presence. Once detected, ensure that you don’t disturb asbestos-containing materials if they are in good condition. Go for asbestos removal if you notice broken floors or withering ceilings and walls. Keep your children away from areas where you think repairing is required.
3. Traces of asbestos in kids’ products:
You may not notice at first, but asbestos may be present in some of the standard products your child uses or plays with. A few products are still available on shelves containing traces of asbestos; these include crayons from various companies, different playing kits, and even makeup for children.
Talcum powder is often the main ingredient in makeup and personal care items. It was found that asbestos may be a contaminant of talc, and when it is mined, it may contain other pollutants.
Even though a trace amount of asbestos is present in such products, prolonged exposure can lead to severe health issues in kids. Therefore, you should avoid buying such products for your kids because it’s better safe than sorry.
Summing it up
We aren’t aware of the materials used in everyday products that fill our houses and workplace most of the time. Asbestos is one of those deadly minerals which can cause severe diseases like mesothelioma if exposed to it over a long time.
Children are most at risk with such exposures as they may be around products containing asbestos traces, such as old school and house buildings or every day playing products. Therefore, you must ensure that your house is not in chaos. Always read the labels on materials you may think to contain harmful substances and guide your kids about protecting themselves against such exposure.