Before scientists discovered the link between asbestos and several diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, pleuritis, and asbestosis - a condition characterized by scarring and swelling of lung tissue - it was a widely-used material in several industries, including the construction industry.
Asbestos may be in your home and, if so, you should know about it. Here are a few common myths and misconceptions about asbestos.
It's Illegal for Manufacturers or Construction Companies to Make or Use Asbestos
One of the most pervasive myths concerning asbestos is that the substance is illegal in the United States. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attempted to completely ban the use of asbestos. First, the EPA attempted to regulate it and then make its production, distribution, and use illegal.
In 1989, the EPA tried to pass a ban on asbestos when it drafted the Asbestos Ban and Phase-Out Rule. Unfortunately, any laws regulating the use, production, and distribution of asbestos were overturned in 1991. It is illegal to mine asbestos in the United States and there are a handful of banned products, including commercial paper, specialty paper, flooring felt, and corrugated paper.
However, because it is not illegal to utilize asbestos in the United States and several countries throughout the world, it is still possible that even modern homes are constructed with products that contain this cancer-causing mineral.
Asbestos Is Safe If I'm Not Exposed for Too Long
In most cases, if a person is exposed to asbestos for a few minutes, hours, or even days it is possible that this is too short a period for them to become sick. Long-term exposure is more likely to cause an asbestos-related illness, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. It can take several years or decades for the signs of an asbestos-related illness to become obvious.
However, if a person is exposed to high levels of asbestos for a short time, they can become sick. However, it may take several years for that sickness to present itself. This is why any exposure to asbestos is dangerous and should be avoided, even for a few minutes or hours.
White Asbestos Is Safer Than Other Forms of Asbestos
There are six forms of asbestos, including crocidolite, or blue, asbestos, anthophyllite asbestos, and amosite, or brown, asbestos. White, or chrysotile, asbestos is the most commonly-used of the six forms of the mineral and is used in both construction and the automotive industry. This form of asbestos is less likely to cause mesothelioma and other types of lung conditions, but that doesn't make it any safer.
It is difficult to determine the type of asbestos found in your home, especially if it is mixed with other products, such as cement fibers. No matter what type of asbestos is found inside your home, it is not safe for you and your family and should be removed.
It's Safe to Remove Asbestos Myself
If you suspect there are asbestos-containing materials in your home or if you purchased a home and an inspector found asbestos, you might assume that because the asbestos is wet, old, or there is a small amount, it is safe to put on some gloves, a mask, and remove it yourself.
Asbestos becomes dangerous when the fibers are airborne and inhaled. Let professionals eliminate asbestos insulation, siding, roofing materials, or any other asbestos-containing materials. An abatement professional knows how to safely remove and dispose of the asbestos materials, which is the best way to ensure you and your family are safe.From the assumed illegality of the product to the idea that it is safe to remove it from your home on your own, there are several myths about asbestos. If you have any further questions, contact the professionals at Hygenix Inc.