The Truth about Asbestos

Published: 14th May 2010
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Any material that contains less than one percent asbestos is considered non-regulated. Experts estimate that there has been an 83 percent increase in imports of asbestos brakes and brake material over the past 10 years. IJOEH provides essential background material for the fight for a global asbestos ban.

To avoid potential exposure, only trained and state certified employees may remove, drill, bore, or in any way disturb asbestos containing construction material. Covering involves placing a protective wrap over or around the material that contains the asbestos to prevent the release of fibers. Until you receive the results, treat the material as if it contains asbestos. Usually it is best to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone. Before asbestos removal, insist that the contractor apply a wetting agent to the asbestos material with a fine-mist hand sprayer.

Health

Depending on its condition, asbestos in your home may be hazardous to your health. Many of the largest manufacturers and distributors of asbestos products knew of the health risks caused by asbestos in the 1930s and 40s.

Breathing asbestos fibers poses the greatest health risk. A person must generally be exposed to asbestos for a long period of time (10 or more years) before health effects occur. Some experts claim if managed properly the asbestos will not pose a health risk. Victims allege the companies knew of the health risks of asbestos long before they took it off the market.

The only way to truly remove the threat of asbestos exposure and its dangerous health effects is to remove all asbestos from the premises. But unfortunately, when microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled, these minerals can become a health hazard. While beliefs about the hazard of asbestos are polarized, researchers do concur that there is a health risk.

Contact with asbestos has been found to present a much greater health hazard than previously thought, and should never be used in schools.

Exposure
There is no safe level of exposure, so contact with any amount of asbestos can be harmful. By not disturbing the vermiculite, you are reducing your chances for exposure to asbestos. Other people believe there is no safe level of asbestos exposure level and that any schools containing it should undergo a removal plan. High, short-term exposure to asbestos fibres can occur during do-it-yourself work. Potential asbestos exposure can also occur at schools, homes and public buildings if asbestos products have fallen into disrepair or become damaged.

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