If you work or live in a building that was constructed before 1980, you may be at risk of asbestos exposure in San Francisco . Today, asbestos exposure is a known cause of many illnesses and diseases, and asbestos use is banned or severely restricted in most countries. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about asbestos.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring
mineral in the earth. It’s known for its strength, insulating power, heat
resistance, and versatility. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are six different types of asbestos that were once used in automotive parts, tiles, cement, and textiles. Almost 90% of the asbestos that was used to produce these products was chrysotile asbestos. Manufacturers began using asbestos in the 1800s and it wasn’t until the 1970s that the world became fully aware of its dangers. Now, products can only contain 1% of asbestos in order to be considered safe.
How Does Asbestos Exposure Occur?
There are 75 different jobs in America that are known to expose employees to asbestos. The majority of cases of asbestos exposure occur on the job, but there are also homes and apartments that still contain asbestos. Asbestos can be found in the floor tiles, roofs, furnaces, plumbing, appliances, fireplaces, and window caulking of buildings constructed before the 1980s. Asbestos exposure occurs when normal wear and tear dislodges asbestos fibers, allowing them to become airborne. Anyone in the room or building is at risk for breathing in the fibers and suffering from asbestos exposure.
What Are the Dangers of Asbestos Exposure?
Asbestos exposure is practically the sole cause of mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Asbestos exposure is also linked to lung cancer, pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Asbestos symptoms typically don’t show up until about ten to forty years after asbestos exposure occurs. The most common asbestos symptoms are a persistent cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, weight loss, chest tightness or pain, and clubbing of the fingertips or toes.