Asbestos 101: What It Is, Why It’s Dangerous, and How to Handle It
Category: News , • April 21, 2022

This may not be the first time we’ve waxed poetic about the dangers of asbestos, but we are also aware that we may have newer readers looking for an introduction and comprehensive overview of the matter.

Thus, we’re here to recap all of the big-ticket items you need to know about asbestos before getting into the nitty-gritty!

Let’s start with the basics:

Almost Everywhere: Asbestos

“Asbestos is a group of six naturally occurring minerals made up of heat-resistant fibers,” the Mesothelioma Center explains.  “It was used in thousands of U.S. consumer products before the dangers of asbestos were known.”

Largely used in both the construction and automotive industries, the following are listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as areas where asbestos can typically be found:

  • Attic/wall insulation
  • Pipe insulation and tape
  • Vinyl flooring materials
  • Textured paint
  • Textured ceiling patches
  • Heat-resistant fabrics
  • And more

Asbestos by itself is not dangerous so long as it remains intact and undisturbed. However, it does pose a threat once it comes friable — meaning when it becomes exposed to air and is liable to crumble.

The Menace Behind the Material

Unfortunately, asbestos is not currently banned in the United States. That being said, it is heavily regulated given the health hazards associated with exposure.

“Asbestos fibers associated with these health risks are too small to be seen with the naked eye,” according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). “Breathing asbestos fibers can cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs called asbestosis and result in loss of lung function that often progresses to disability and death.”

Otherwise, asbestos is most likely to cause mesothelioma and lung cancer. But workers who come into direct contact with asbestos are not the only ones at risk — their loved ones may also face these hazards.

“This risk is thought to result from exposure to asbestos fibers brought into the home on the shoes, clothing, skin, and hair of workers,” the National Cancer Institute reports.”

Who to Call and Why

Due to the risk asbestos poses to one’s long-term wellbeing, it is not recommended that the average person attempt to deal with this material on their own.

“Doing minor repairs yourself is not recommended since improper handling of asbestos materials can create a hazard where none existed,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns. “Removal is complex and must be done only by a contractor with special training. Improper removal may actually increase the health risks to you and your family.”

That being said, how will you know how to approach asbestos if you don’t even know where it is or how much may be hiding in your property?

Simple: You contact Luce Air Quality.

Capable of performing comprehensive asbestos investigations on top of asbestos air monitoring and more, our team of indoor environmental experts can help residential and commercial owners alike stay aware and empowered!

Ready to learn more? Call us today at 904-803-1014 to get started! We look forward to helping you breathe a healthy sigh of relief.

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