Professional Mould Removal: Identifying and Preventing MouldJanuary 4, 2024
Asbestos exposure causes several health issues, such as respiratory diseases and cancer. It was initially known for its versatility and has been used in construction and manufacturing for decades. This blog will cover everything you need about Asbestos and its health effects and explore various precautions to reduce associated risks.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is naturally occurring and is a microscopic fibre. It has incredible properties, such as remarkable resistance to heat and chemicals. Due to its incredible strengths, it is used in various industries, including construction, shipbuilding, and automotive manufacturing. The three most common types of Asbestos are chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite, each with unique properties and risks.
In the past, Romans and Greeks used Asbestos fibres to make various clothing materials and funeral dressings that were resistant to fire. During the Industrial Revolution, it was used for insulation in steam engines, turbines and pipes due to its high heat-resistant properties. Additionally, during World WAR II, Asbestos was used to make fireproof military equipment and ships.
Asbestos Health Effects and Exposure:
The dangers of Asbestos lie in its microscopic fibres, which, when disturbed, can become airborne and easily inhaled. Over time, these fibres can cause a range of health issues. Respiratory conditions such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma are among the severe consequences of prolonged exposure. The frightening aspect is that these health effects may not become evident immediately; they often have a long latency period, making prevention and early detection crucial.
Asbestosis is a chronic lung condition caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. Over time, these fibres can cause scarring of the lung tissue, leading to breathing difficulties and a persistent cough. Lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure typically develops many years after initial exposure and shares symptoms with other types of lung cancer. Mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer, primarily affects the lining of the lungs and abdomen and is strongly linked to asbestos exposure.
Familiar Sources of Asbestos Exposure:
Having a good understanding of where Asbestos is commonly found can minimize exposure risks. Since Asbestos has been used in construction for decades, older buildings may contain Asbestos in various materials, including insulation, roofing, and flooring. Occupations such as construction, asbestos mining, and shipbuilding pose a higher risk of exposure due to the widespread historical use of Asbestos in these industries. Home renovations may disturb asbestos-containing materials, release harmful fibres into the air, and increase exposure.
Asbestos may be in homes’ insulation, vinyl floor tiles, roof shingles, and textured paint. In the past, Asbestos was used in commercial settings in various materials, including pipe insulation, gaskets, and brake linings. It is essential to recognize these potential sources as disturbance of these materials can release asbestos fibres into the air, putting individuals at risk of inhalation.
Demolitions and natural disasters like earthquakes can also disturb asbestos-containing materials in buildings and release harmful fibres.
Regulations and Guidelines:
Various regulations and guidelines have been implemented to mitigate the risks associated with Asbestos. These measures aim to control the use of Asbestos, protect workers, and ensure the safe removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials. Depending on your location, specific regulations may govern Asbestos in workplaces and residential settings. Familiarizing yourself with these guidelines is a crucial step in preventing exposure.
Furthermore, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) provides comprehensive information and guidelines to employers, workers, and the general public. CCOHS offers resources detailing safe work practices, protective equipment usage, and asbestos management strategies, contributing to the overall effort to mitigate asbestos-related risks nationwide. The collaborative approach between federal and regional authorities ensures a unified front in the ongoing commitment to protect Canadians from the hazards associated with asbestos exposure.
Identifying and Assessing Asbestos Risks:
Recognizing potential sources of Asbestos is the first step to taking precautions. Asbestos may lurk in insulation, roofing materials, floor tiles, and even textured paints. If you reside in an older home or work in an industry with a history of asbestos use, get professional assessments to identify and assess the risks. Certified asbestos inspectors can conduct evaluations and provide you with a clear understanding of potential hazards.
Homeowners can take steps to identify potential asbestos-containing materials in their homes. It isn’t easy. Although the presence of Asbestos is not visually detectable, other factors, such as the age of the building, the materials used, and the history of renovations, can provide an overview. Our experts at Healthy Environmental specialize in identifying and removing Asbestos.
Prevention is vital when it comes to asbestos exposure. Whether you’re a homeowner, a construction worker, or someone residing in an older building, taking precautions can significantly reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres.
Educate Yourself: Learn about the familiar sources of Asbestos and understand the potential risks associated with exposure.
Use Protective Gear: If you work in an industry where asbestos exposure is a concern, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial. Respirators and coveralls can help minimize the risk of inhaling or contacting asbestos fibres.
Avoid Disturbing Asbestos-Containing Materials: If you suspect the presence of Asbestos, avoid disturbing materials that may contain it, specifically during home renovations or demolitions. Always seek professional advice.
Hire Certified Professionals: Always hire certified professionals for asbestos removal or reduction. Attempting to handle asbestos-containing materials without the proper training and equipment can release harmful fibres into the air.
Ensure Adequate Ventilation: Proper ventilation can help disperse any airborne asbestos fibres, reducing the concentration in the air. This is especially important in enclosed spaces where asbestos-containing materials may be present.
Regular Inspections and Maintenance: For homeowners, regular inspections of the home’s structure and materials can help identify potential issues before they become more significant problems. Addressing asbestos-containing materials promptly through professional removal can help prevent contact.
Safe Renovation Practices: If you’re planning renovations in an older building, take precautions to minimize the risk of disturbing asbestos-containing materials. Before starting any work, have the area inspected for Asbestos, and if necessary, hire professionals for safe removal or encapsulation.
Proper Disposal: If you come across asbestos-containing materials during renovations or maintenance, it’s crucial to dispose of them properly. Local regulations often dictate specific guidelines for the disposal of asbestos waste, and failing to adhere to these regulations can pose risks to public health and the environment.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is paramount when working in environments where asbestos exposure is possible. Respirators with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can effectively prevent inhaling asbestos fibres. Additionally, disposable coveralls, gloves, and shoe covers can help minimize skin contact with asbestos-containing materials. Always use PPE to protect your health if you are renovating your home.
It’s crucial to select PPE that meets the specific requirements for protection against Asbestos. Consult an expert to ensure safety and proper use.
Asbestos Removal and Abatement:
In cases where asbestos-containing materials must be removed or encapsulated, it is crucial to hire a professional. Asbestos removal is a specialized task that requires training, experience, and adherence to strict safety protocols. Certified asbestos abatement contractors have the knowledge and equipment to safely handle Asbestos, minimizing the risk of fibre release during removal.
Do not rely on DIY removal due to the potential dangers of asbestos health effects. Disturbing asbestos-containing materials without proper precautions can release fibres into the air, putting individuals at risk of exposure. Contact us if you have any questions about our asbestos removal services.
Take Professional Help
Understanding the health effects of asbestos exposure and taking precautions are integral to safeguarding your well-being. Awareness and proactive measures can significantly reduce health risks at home or in the workplace. By staying informed, using proper protective equipment, and seeking professional assistance, you create safer environments for yourself and those around you.
Prevention is necessary as asbestos-related diseases have a long latency period. By adopting safe practices and promoting awareness, we can work towards minimizing the impact of Asbestos on our health and ensuring a safer future for generations to come. Our team at Healthy Environmental is dedicated to an effective asbestos removal service; contact us to learn more.