Asbestos & Health
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Asbestos is a naturally occurring, mostly fibrous mineral that has been used in a variety of building products and industrial settings over the years because of its resistance to heat, fire, and many caustic chemicals.
The physical properties that give asbestos its resistance to heat and decay are also linked with a number of adverse human health effects. Asbestos tends to break apart into a dust of microscopic fibers that remain suspended in the air for a long time. When inhaled, these fibers can cause:
- Asbestosis, a chronic lung condition that makes breathing progressively more difficult.
- Cancer, most frequently of the lungs.
- Mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the chest and abdominal membranes.
Symptoms can take up to 40 years to develop, all can lead to death, and each exposure increases your risk.
Although seldom used in construction since the late 1980s, building materials that contain asbestos are still legal to sell. They can be found in structures of all ages in various forms: decorative plasters, fireproofing, resilient flooring, heating system insulation, wallboard joint compound systems, mastics, roofing, exterior siding, and more.