What is Asbestos and Why is it Dangerous?


 What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a dangerous chemical formerly used in building materials, and it is unfortunately still present in many buildings built before it was banned in 1977. Asbestos was most commonly used in insulation, but can also be found in older paints and patching compounds such as those used in ceiling and wall joints. It is also found in some roof shingles on older structures. One of the big reasons asbestos was a common building material is because it is fire preventative. Insulation and other materials made with asbestos will not catch fire as easily as others, but breathing the fumes is toxic to people, thus leading to the 1977 ban on the material. If you suspect your home may be insulated with asbestos, contact asbestos removal Sydney or a different company in your region as soon as possible.

 Non-Cancerous Asbestos Related Health Problems

Asbestos is considered a highly toxic substance, and it can lead to a whole host of health problems, some of them cancerous and some not, however even the non-cancerous health issues that arise from asbestos inhalation are highly dangerous and can be fatal; this is why it is important to remove it as quickly as possible from any structure it is found in. Inhalation of the particles shed from asbestos containing materials in the air can become toxic to the human body very quickly. The tiny fibers from asbestos become lodged in the lungs and can lead to breathing issues. One of the worst non-cancerous health issues asbestos inhalation can cause is called Asbestosis. In Asbestosis, the lungs become scarred from continued inhalation of the asbestos fibers. Consequently, this scarring makes it impossible for the lungs to breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Asbestosis usually only appears from long term exposure and symptoms often do not come on until many years after the exposure. Another disease caused by asbestos is called Pleural Disease. This is a disorder of the tissues surrounding the lungs and chest cavity. This disease can cause fluid build-up in and around the lungs, and many people who develop Pleural Disease lose the ability to breathe on their own.

 Cancerous Asbestos Related Health Problems

Asbestos is responsible for two different kinds of cancer. These include lung cancer and Mesothelioma. Lung cancer can be caused by various different factors, but it is believed that many cases are due to asbestos inhalation. In lung cancer, a cancerous tumor blocks the passage of air into the lungs, and often leads to death. Mesothelioma on the other hand, is a rare form of cancer that affects more than just the lungs. In Mesothelioma, the membrane surrounding the lungs and chest cavity, and the membrane in the stomach become infected with cancer. It is rare to recover from Mesothelioma, as it is very aggressive. Symptoms of this disease often don’t even appear until 30-40 years after the asbestos exposure, making it incredibly insidious and hard to predict or treat. There is also evidence that asbestos exposure can cause cancers of the ovaries, stomach, and larynx.