Asbestos minerals are composed of six different types of occurring minerals. Composed of durable fibers that are heat, fire and chemical resistant, it enters the body through breathing. What most of us don’t know is that asbestos minerals are not harmful unless it releases fibers in the air where we ingest or inhaled it.
For instance, asbestos-containing floor tiles, cabinet tops or fire door will not release harmful fibers into the air unless they become damaged or deteriorated. Physical impacts such as drilling, sawing, grinding, striking, cutting or hammering them may release the fibers.
The asbestos could also be disturbed due to natural disasters like tornadoes, flood or hurricanes. Hence, it is crucial that the first responders in times like this know how to handle asbestos materials to reduce the spreading of the fiber.
Health Effects and Hazards
Perhaps you have heard the term “friable”; it is when the asbestos is most hazardous. It is when it’s easily crumbled by hand that releases fiber in the air.
Once the asbestos fiber entered the body, some of it will stay in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose, and some may pass deep into lungs or digestive tract if swallowed. It is when the problem occurs. Too much exposure to it can lead to lung cancer, pleural mesothelioma or asbestosis.
Asbestos is widely used in many homes and establishments until 1980. Flooring, insulation, siding, shingles and ceiling tiles of old houses and building are most likely to contain asbestos minerals. Thus, if there are demolitions or home renovations near you, make sure that professional workers handle it and not just by the homeowner to prevent health hazards.
Proper Disposal of Asbestos Waste
Whatever asbestos waste it is, make sure to deal with it with great care. If your home or building was built in the 1980s, its attic insulation or piping insulation might contain asbestos materials.
While asbestos does not instantly introduce itself as a health hazard, once it gets disturbed or damaged, it poses a great risk to people’s safety and health as its fibers tend to flaked off and become airborne. It can be transferred from one place to another as it tends to lingers on clothing items and shoes.
In case of asbestos emergency, follow the tips below.
- Wear disposable clothing and gloves before having an immediate contact with the asbestos material.
- If you have to remove an asbestos material, wet first the product or item with water, placed it in a garbage bag and completely seal it. Label it so that it won’t get mixed with other trash bags.
- Do not dispose it anywhere but only to the designated landfill for asbestos-containing materials.
- Most importantly, contact local authorities to ask for instructions on what is best to do with this type of waste.
For major renovation or demolition project, we highly suggest that you consult an expert to perform accredited testing for asbestos. They would make recommendations for safe containment and disposal of the affected materials and monitor the proper removal of asbestos waste.