For years, there’s been a lot of talk about the dangers of asbestos and for a reason - it’s been found to create harm for health, so naturally, many people want it gone from their homes. It’s important to mention that removing asbestos is a complicated and dangerous process and that you shouldn’t do it by yourself unless you’re experienced in it.
For those who don’t know, asbestos is a group of six natural minerals and it has been used in strengthening various materials such as plastic, paper, and cement. Because it is resistant to heat, it’s no wonder that it’s been a popular choice of material in construction.
Why is it dangerous?
Long term exposure to asbestos can be harmful, so people who work in construction, military, mining, and firefighting are in the greatest risk of harming their health. Thankfully, there are many regulations nowadays, that reduce the risk, but unfortunately, people in various other occupations are still in danger of getting sick from asbestos-related diseases. Aside from people who are directly exposed to asbestos, their family members, friends and pets are also in risk due to secondhand exposure, because many workers tend to bring asbestos dust home. What happens is that fibers cling to a person’s hair, skin, and clothes. Unfortunately, decontaminating oneself from asbestos isn’t easy, and it’s important to stress out that showering and doing laundry is not enough.
So, what if you want to remove it from your home?
Considering the dangers of asbestos exposure, it makes perfect sense that you want it gone from your home. But, it’s important to point out that you should never, by any circumstances, do it on your own, even if you had some previous experiences with asbestos. Aside from it not being recommended, in some places, it’s also illegal to do it by yourself. Even though in some countries, a non-licensed person is allowed to remove non-friable asbestos in an area smaller than 10m2, it’s always safer to hire professional asbestos removal personnel.
Also, asbestos is banned in many countries so manually handling it can have legal consequences for you and your family. For example, in Australia, asbestos has been banned since 2003, and even though, up to 1990, many home builders used asbestos in construction. So, chances are that your home does contain asbestos or, at least, traces of it. So whoever wants to get rid of it, it’s better to hire a company that analyzes the levels of asbestos. Hence, it’s not unusual to find a reliable company that does expert asbestos testing from Sydney, as Australians are getting more and more aware of the presence of asbestos in their homes and the dangerous effects it poses.
There are scientific studies and research that show that long-term exposure to asbestos can cause many malignant diseases such as cancers and asbestosis.
Asbestosis happens when a person has been exposed to asbestos for a prolonged period. It is a type of pulmonary fibrosis, and it causes lungs tissues to be scarred. Some symptoms are shortness of breath, dry cough, loss of weight and appetite, fatigue and chest tightness. Getting medical attention and following doctor’s orders is critical and eating a healthy diet, sleeping well and drinking a lot of water can definitely help in recovery.
Asbestos-related cancer or mesothelioma can happen after individual swallows or breathes invisible asbestos fibers. The most common types of asbestos cancer are lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, and mesothelioma.
If symptoms persist, it’s crucial to consult a doctor and start treatment as soon as possible so there’ll be more chance of successful recovery.
What are asbestos alternatives?
Since asbestos is banned in many places, there are many healthy alternatives that can be used for house insulation, tile compounding, and roofing. Mineral wool, fiberglass, cellulose, sheep wool are all great and, in many cases, natural replacements that won’t cause any harmful effects to your health. Mineral wool, for example, is naturally fire-resistant, so it doesn’t require any dangerous chemicals to be added.
Even though you might be tempted to remove the asbestos by yourself, keep in mind that even the tiniest exposure can pose a threat to your health and the health of your family, friends, and co-workers. Instead of endangering your health, you should hire a specialist who’ll assess the level of asbestos and safely remove it. Thankfully, nowadays there are other greener and healthier home building and installation materials so no one needs to use dangerous chemicals and minerals anymore.
Guest post by Derek Lotts
About the Author
Derek Lotts is a Sydney based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment. Find Derek on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
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