Asbestos: The supposed good and the definite bad about it

If you were a Pennsylvania product developer, you might think that a material that possesses properties to resist heat, chemicals and fire would be a good thing. If such material were also strong, durable and flexible, you might be utterly thrilled to consider its potential. The aforementioned attributes are all characteristics of asbestos. However, in the decades since companies routinely manufactured items that contained asbestos fibers, scientists, doctors and others have come to learn how dangerous, not good, it can be.  

It is a myth that products available for consumer purchase in the United States no longer contain asbestos. For instance, if you use talcum powder or potting soil, you might come into contact with the microscopic fibers that can cause incurable respiratory illnesses and cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency believes asbestos is so dangerous that it tried to have it banned in 1989. If you think you have suffered adverse health because of asbestos, it is important to know where to seek support

How old is your house? 

Part of the beauty of Pittsburgh is its old-home architecture. However, if you live in a house built before 1980, you may be at risk for asbestos exposure. The following information provides additional facts about asbestos and, in particular, what it can do to your health:  

  • Many older homes contain caulking, putty, adhesives, bonding or sealants that contain asbestos. As long as it remains undisturbed, asbestos in such products might not pose a health risk; however, if you renovate your home and scrape, pound or otherwise disturb the areas containing asbestos, you are at great risk for injury. 
  • If you do construction on an older home or plan to demolish the home, microscopic asbestos fibers may end up in the air you breathe, thus placing you at risk for mesothelioma, asbestosis and other illnesses. 
  • If you hire someone to remove asbestos from your property, it must be someone certified to do so.
  • The insulation in your pre-1980-built house is likely to contain asbestos. In fact, there are still insulation products on the market today that contain asbestos, as the law allows up to one percent of the material to be part of insulation.  

There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. Second-hand exposure may be just as dangerous as first-hand exposure, as made evident by adults who contracted mesothelioma when exposed as children to the clothing their parents wore when they came home from work. If you ingest or inhale microscopic asbestos fibers, they can become lodged inside your lungs and cause you serious illness as time goes on.  

Getting help 

If you experience symptoms that you believe may be related to asbestos exposure, you'll want to seek a medical diagnosis right away. If you think you contracted an asbestos-related illness at work, you may also want to talk to someone experienced in asbestos litigation.

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