Asbestos In Home Duct Systems
Asbestos was a popular construction material due to its fire retardant and insulating properties, but the dangers of this substance weren’t fully understood until recently. Asbestos particles can cause several health problems, including mesothelioma—a condition that causes lung cancer.
Aside from its use as insulation and fireproofing material, asbestos can be found in several other areas of homes, including floor and ceiling tiles, textured paints, and roofing and siding. As a homeowner, you may be wondering if your home poses a health risk for containing any measure of asbestos, especially if you own an older property.
Asbestos’ Effects On The Body
The reason asbestos causes lung problems is the fibers of the substance. When aspirated, these fibers collect in the lungs. Repeated exposure causes these deposits to grow and eventually cause lung inflammation. Over time, this inflammation leads to serious health issues such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
Asbestosis is a condition characterized by lung inflammation, shortness of breath, severe coughing, and permanent damage to the lungs. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the membranes that line the chest and abdomen and is the most common cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Additionally, some studies have linked asbestos exposure to gastrointestinal, colorectal, throat, kidney, esophageal, and gallbladder cancers.
Assess Your Risk of Asbestos in the Home
Homes built before 1980 more than likely contain some amount of asbestos. While this may sound scary, the truth is that the people most at risk for asbestos-related illnesses are those who work with asbestos. Employees of asbestos-producing companies in mines and mills are at high risk for exposure to harmful asbestos particles. Handlers of products and building materials that contain asbestos, such as pipefitters, construction workers, mechanics, and shipbuilders, also risk exposure.
There are millions of homes in the United States that contain some form of asbestos, and almost everyone encounters it at some point. The National Cancer Institute reminds people who worry about asbestos exposure that the only individuals who develop asbestos-related illnesses are those who work with it or are exposed to it on a regular basis.
The most dangerous risk factor of developing an asbestos-related illness is the rate of exposure. A consistent dose of asbestos in regular intervals will undoubtedly have serious ramifications. Personal health also plays a role—smokers and individuals with pre-existing lung disorders or diseases are at an elevated risk for developing serious health issues. Smokers in particular face an elevated risk of developing lung cancer.
What To Do About Asbestos In Your Home
After considering the effects asbestos can have on an individual’s health, you may be concerned if you know that your house was built prior to 1980—or if you know for certain that your home has insulation or duct work that contains asbestos. The most important thing to remember is that these substances can only harm you if you disturb them.
Asbestos is only dangerous once the fibers become airborne. Therefore, try your best not to move or shift any asbestos insulation or similar structures. You can also seek professional assistance to remove and replace the asbestos-containing insulation or ducts or have the areas encapsulated to prevent fibers from escaping into your home.
If you’re unsure about the safety of the asbestos in your home, consult with the professionals at Cardinal Heating & AC, Inc. Reach out to our team for expert advice about the air quality in your home and any renovations you require to ensure your family’s health and safety.