Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber which has been used in thousands of products for industrial, commercial and home use. The mineral is cheap, easy to mine and fire retardant. These qualities make asbestos a great bulk filler in construction-related products.
Unfortunately, the mineral has one less-desirable quality – its ability to shatter into microscopic fibers. When asbestos fibers are disturbed or damaged, they can become airborne. Once airborne, these fibers can be inhaled and become permanently lodged in your respiratory airways and lung tissue. Continuous exposure to these fibers results in buildup in your lungs, which increases your risk for asbestos-related diseases.
In the past century, there have been tens of thousands of chronic respiratory conditions that can be traced directly to prolonged asbestos exposure. Approximately 12,000 people in the U.S. die each year from mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and several other asbestos-related illnesses.
A common misconception about asbestos is that due to its potentially hazardous effects, it is entirely banned in the U.S. While it is true that in 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency outlawed asbestos in the U.S. due to its harmful qualities, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ban in 1991. The mineral is still used today in a variety of products, including residential roofing, floor and ceiling tiles, and pipe wrap.
To the untrained eye, it is difficult to tell if a material contains asbestos just by looking at it. Regardless of when your home, apartment or office was built, there is still a possibility it could have asbestos-containing materials.
Since asbestos can still be used in construction products in the U.S., the only way to know for sure whether a material contains asbestos is to have it tested by a laboratory. If you are planning to remove a wall, ceiling or floor, you should have the material tested for asbestos. Call Asbestos Abatement Inc. at 303-794-4450 today to schedule testing or abatement services and to keep your lungs asbestos free.