Asbestos refers to six fibrous mineral substance that naturally occurs. It can resist fire, heat, and electricity — making it an ideal insulator material. It is a relatively cheap but durable material with heat resistant and insulating properties.
Because of these qualities, the use of asbestos was once very profitable for many businesses until it was found out how toxic it really is. Consequently, it was banned from usage. However, if your property in Utah was constructed before 1985, it would be wise to conduct asbestos testing to ensure your safety.
Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos only becomes a health hazard when the fibers are breathed in. So, as long as it remains dormant, it will have no effect on your health.
However, a home renovation project may disturb and disperse asbestos fibers in the air because of all the cutting, sewing, and drilling. When inhaled, these fibers can cause a variety of health conditions, such as:
- Asbestosis. This is a chronic lung disease that occurs when asbestos scars the lungs. This disease leads to long-term health breathing difficulties which can be incapacitating. It may even cause cardiac arrest for those who are in the advanced stages of the disease.
- Lung cancer. Prolonged exposure to asbestos also increases your risk of developing lung cancer. Symptoms of lung cancer include chronic cough, breathlessness, or chest pain, as well as the repeated occurrence of pneumonia or bronchitis. Some people may even start spitting blood while coughing.
- Mesothelioma. This is probably the most serious disease related to prolonged asbestos exposure. You don’t necessarily have to be directly exposed to the source of asbestos to contract this disease. You can develop mesothelioma simply by being exposed to the asbestos dust from the clothes of someone who was in direct contact with it.
Unfortunately, asbestos-related illnesses don’t exhibit symptoms until much later in their stages when they are more difficult to treat. This is the reason why all properties constructed before 1985 need to be checked for asbestos before any demolition or renovation is carried out
What Asbestos Is Used For
Asbestos has many great qualities that make it a common material during construction of buildings back in the day. Some of its most common uses include:
- Insulation material for spaces between wooden studs on walls and ceilings
- Wallpaper construction
- Fabrication of ceiling tiles
- Pipes and pipes insulation construction
The microscopic asbestos fibers are odorless, tasteless, and cannot be seen, so it’s very easy to inhale or swallow them without realizing it. On top of that, most people who were exposed to it don’t show any symptoms until it is too late.
Once inside the body, asbestos fibers can be trapped for a very long time since they never dissolve and are not easily expelled by the body. Over time, these fibers can cause havoc inside your body by causing scarring and inflammation.
They may also eventually cause genetic damage to your body’s cells, and there are no known ways to reverse this damage. So if you’re planning to renovate your home, do not hesitate to have it checked first for asbestos, especially if it was constructed before 1985 when asbestos usage was still rampant. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, after all.