In recent years, asbestos has been linked to more than 100,000 deaths in a single year. And this tiny killer can be a stealthy hazard for renovators.
But it’s not always easy to know how much asbestos exposure is bad and how to stay protected as a renovator.
We’re here to help. Read on for a guide to asbestos and advice for avoiding its life-threatening effects.
What Is Asbestos?
It’s a name for six different naturally occurring materials. These minerals are commonly used to create things like building material and fireproofing gear. That’s because the little fibers that make up asbestos can be heat resistant and durable.
But this material is also odorless, tasteless, and invisible. That means asbestos testing is usually needed to detect it in everyday products.
When breathed in, asbestos can lead to severe health problems and death.
How Much Asbestos Exposure Is Bad?
It’s difficult to tie an exact amount of exposure to asbestos toxicity. But there are factors that can impact a person’s risk of adverse health effects.
Here are some things that can determine how asbestos hits an individual:
- Dose – There isn’t necessarily an exact figure pointing out how much asbestos exposure is bad. But higher doses can result in a much higher risk.
- Fiber makeup – The size, chemicals, and structure of asbestos fibers can affect health.
- Duration of exposure – How long a person is exposed to the material can be a big factor.
A Look at Asbestos Toxicity
Asbestos becomes dangerous when it’s breathed into the lungs. The fibers can become trapped in a person’s lungs and stay there.
This can lead to scarring and breathing problems. One big danger is developing asbestosis. This condition can cause shortness of breath, inflammation, and permanent lung damage.
Asbestos has also been linked to the cancer mesothelioma. This is a tumor that grows in organ tissue and most commonly affects the lungs.
Asbestos Exposure Symptoms
The negative symptoms of asbestos toxicity can take a long time to show up in individuals. Sometimes symptoms don’t appear until years after exposure to asbestos fibers.
Here are some common symptoms that asbestos exposure can cause:
- A swollen face or neck
- Shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing
- Chest pain or tightness
- Weight loss
- Coughing up blood
Asbestos has also been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer among smokers. And there are studies that suggest workers who are exposed to asbestos can cut down their risk of lung cancer by quitting smoking.
Protecting Against Asbestos
Workers can cut down the risk of toxic asbestos exposure by following professional guidelines. This usually means wearing protective equipment, like respirators.
There are also groups, like OSHA, that can make an inspection to help workers know if they’re at risk of dangerous levels of asbestos exposure.
Avoiding More Renovation Disasters
This guide to asbestos should help renovators know how much asbestos exposure is bad. And it should help homeowners renovate safer.
But we have more tips for home renovation. Visit our post here for the common renovation mistakes too many homeowners make.