You can't see something that is microscopic, that is, unless you have a microscope on hand. Danger often lurks in Pittsburgh and other Pennsylvania cities because of microscopic asbestos fibers that exist in many homes, schools, commercial buildings and other locations. Exposure can cause terminal illness, and it is nearly impossible for you to know if you are in an area where there's asbestos. However, there is a higher likelihood in certain places, and it pays to know more about this.
Especially if you work in a school or older building, your employer is obligated to inform you if there is asbestos on site. Your employer must also provide proper training to help keep you and your fellow co-workers safe. If you believe you or your loved one has contracted an asbestos-related illness, you may want to discuss the situation with someone well-versed in asbestos litigation. In the meantime, it's a good idea to learn as much as you can about where you might find asbestos.
Construction materials and other high-risk issues
There are stringent regulations in the United States regarding asbestos because scientists and lawmakers are well aware of the potential dangers involved from exposure. The following list includes many building materials and locations where asbestos exposure risk is high:
- Manufacturers used to use asbestos in their products because it is heat resistant and a flame retardant. If insulation in the attic or walls of your home, school or workplace contain vermiculite, there is likely asbestos nearby.
- Many textile products, such as flooring tiles, roofing shingles and siding, often contain high amounts of asbestos.
- Hot water or steam pipes pose a great risk for asbestos exposure. In fact, if pipes are covered in an asbestos blanket or tape, health risks are high.
- Automobile mechanics are at risk for asbestos illnesses, mostly because there is often asbestos in clutches, brakes and other vehicle parts.
- Asbestos might be in the soil, rocks, air or water where you live or work.
If you live or work in an area where demolition or construction projects are taking place, your risk for asbestos exposure increases. If you live in an older home, for instance, and are planning to remodel, you'll want to have a certified inspector check for asbestos before you begin. When inspectors uncover an asbestos problem, only those certified for asbestos abatement should carry out removal practices.
Symptoms are not typically immediately apparent
If you suffer illness from asbestos exposure, you may not be aware of it for many years. Often, diseases such as mesothelioma or asbestosis are slow-developing illnesses. Initial symptoms typically include lingering cough, chest or abdominal discomfort, difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, loss of appetite or weight loss. Any such symptoms warrant medical examination, especially if you think there is even a remote possibility that you have suffered asbestos injury.