You’d be hard-pressed to find a building in Pennsylvania constructed before 1970 that doesn’t contain asbestos. There may indeed be some, somewhere, but it is far more common to find asbestos in old buildings rather than not. No amount of exposure to asbestos is safe. However, there are times when it’s more dangerous than others.
Breathing is the means by which asbestos most frequently enters the body. If you’re not aware that asbestos is present, then you can’t know if you’re inhaling it. It’s microscopic, which is why certified inspectors must do special tests to detect its presence. If you work in an older building, your employer is under an obligation to warn you of known asbestos dangers on the job. If your employer fails to do so and you become ill due to exposure, it’s critical that you know where to seek support.
High-risk asbestos issues
As mentioned earlier, there are times when your risk for injury regarding asbestos may increase. The following list includes high-risk issues that should alert you to serious danger:
- When you inhale or ingest dust from the air, if it contains microscopic asbestos fibers, you are at great risk for lung disease.
- Friability signifies danger levels regarding asbestos.
- If something is friable, it easily crumbles. Products containing asbestos that easily crumble are highly dangerous.
- Old ceiling tiles, flooring, cabinetry and other materials often contain asbestos. If these things get wet, they may become friable.
- Once asbestos fibers get into your lungs or another part of your body, they won’t go away.
- The fibers become lodged and fester.
- This can lead to various incurable diseases, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma.
You’re especially at risk in high-level asbestos areas if construction or renovation is going on. Hammering, drilling, scraping and other common construction maneuvers can disturb asbestos. This creates dust in the air that carries the microscopic fibers to your lungs when you breathe them in or swallow them. Only certified abatement teams can remove asbestos from a building.
If you’re ill
Asbestos illness symptoms may not surface for years. If you cough a lot, have lost your appetite or deal with fatigue, and you think you may have encountered an asbestos exposure on the job, you’ll want to obtain a medical examination. If a doctor diagnoses you with an asbestos-related disease, you can seek recovery for any and all losses associated with employer negligence.