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How do I Know my Asbestos Risk?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Asbestos is a compound that is used in many different settings. In years past, it was used as insulation in private residences as well as public buildings and manufacturing plants. Ceiling panels and other building materials were also once mass produced used asbestos. Over time, research proved that exposure to asbestos can lead to severe health issues, including cancer.

For people living in an older home, there is a good chance that some asbestos is present. It may be in the form of the asbestos ceiling tiles that were installed in the residence prior to the middle of the 1970’s. In like manner, the asbestos popcorn ceiling that was once so popular could also contain considerable amounts of the material. Having your home tested to determine asbestos levels will give you a good idea of whether you are in danger of developing health issues, or if the asbestos risk in your home is minimal, based on the overall content.

Asbestos tiles and ceilings are still found in some public buildings in various parts of the world. Over the years, many manufacturers of various ceiling products incrementally minimized the content of asbestos they used. However, if you work in or frequently spend time in a building where the older products are still in place, your level of asbestos risk is sufficiently higher.

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Many people do come in contact with asbestos in very small amounts. Not everyone is aware that some brands of crayons manufactured around the world use extremely small amounts of this fiber. However, current testing indicates that people who come into contact with products containing small amounts have a very low asbestos risk.

If you have reason to believe that you have been exposed to large quantities of asbestos over the years, it is a good idea to consult your physician. Tests can be ran to determine if you have a condition that is known as asbestosis, which is the development of abnormal tissue as a result of continual exposure. The condition often has its origins in the lungs, where asbestos fibers lodge on the lungs and can create scarring and interfere with the breathing process. The presence of the fibers can also weaken the body and lead to the formation of various long-term respiratory problems and even the development of tumors.

Because the material is used less and less in consumer products and building materials, there is a good chance that your asbestos risk is so low that you will never have to be concerned about this condition. However, even if several years has passed since you were exposed to large amounts of the fiber, it is wise to be checked from time to time. This will help you make sure that no health issue connected with the exposure is emerging.

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