Asbestos is an insulating material that is fibrous in nature. Unlike the flat, continuous surface on Styrofoam insulation, asbestos is susceptible to flaking. If the asbestos insulation is shaken or scraped, microscopic fibers are released into the air. These fibers are easily inhaled if proper filtration or protective equipment is not in place. This is not simple dust that only irritates the eyes and nose, but a toxic mineral capable of great harm.
The Damage Asbestos Can Cause
The inhalation of asbestos can have serious health risks for a person of any age. Four major diseases have been identified as the result of exposure to asbestos.
- Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lining of the chest and lower digestive tract, and is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is a terminal disease, too severe to be successfully treated by the time it is diagnosable.
- Asbestosis is the severe scarring of lungs that comes from heavy, sustained exposure to asbestos fibers. This condition causes shortness of breath, and is capable of increasing in severity to a fatal degree.
- Pleural thickening is the physical reaction of the lungs’ direct exposure to asbestos. The inner lining, or pleura, swells and thickens to the point that breathing becomes difficult and shallow. Pleural thickening is also a chronic disease, which means it will continue to worsen until all exposure has been eliminated.
- Lung cancer caused by asbestos behaves in the same aggressive manner as cancer caused by smoking. Cancerous cells in the lungs can quickly spread to a variety of internal systems.
Other results from asbestos exposure
How Asbestos Reaches the Lungs
Asbestos reaches the lungs as dust inhaled, usually within proximity of the materials themselves. This means that exposure normally arises during building demolition, home improvement projects, or as the result of a disaster, such as a fallen tree limb or a tornado. Exposure is also possible through vermin infestation. Should rats scratch or chew their way through this insulation, or even brush up against asbestos paneling, they can displace individual asbestos fibers. These fibers will cling to their fur and fall off elsewhere, possibly outside of the walls. Considering the exponential growth of rat colonies, having dozens, or even hundreds, of these creatures exposed to asbestos can lead to serious risk of exposure to asbestos as well as other diseases.
Leave Asbestos to the Professionals
If you have discovered asbestos in your home, or suspect that asbestos was used in its construction, contact AQHI, Inc. today to schedule a proper inspection of the facilities. Providing top-notch asbestos removal to the California area since 1995, AQHI has the experience and equipment necessary to guarantee the efficient and safe removal of these hazardous materials from your home.