Caution and Safety Around Asbestos


No amount of asbestos exposure is considered safe by the experts, making caution imperative when in the presence of this toxic material.

The alternative could be disastrous.

Asbestos exposure is the cause of mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer with no definitive cure. Although only a fraction of those exposed to asbestos ever develop mesothelioma, it is not worth the risk.

It also can cause a variety of other health issues, including asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural plaques, and serious respiratory problems. There are several treatment options for these diseases, but the best course of action is still prevention.

Asbestos exposure is nothing to mess with.

Although the use of asbestos products has dropped significantly in the past 20 years, the risk of exposure remains a continued threat to the future health of so many in Canada.

Workers in many occupations must stay vigilant. Asbestos abatement can be crucial to avoiding a future problem. It can save lives.

Asbestos was used extensively throughout much of the 20th century in the construction industry before its long-term dangers became so well known.

It helped strengthen and resist heat in thousands of products. It was used in most every residential and commercial structure built before 1980.

It was put in walls, floor tiles, insulation, caulking, ceilings, roofing materials, plumbing and electrical equipment. And it’s still there today in many instances.

“You have to live with the legacy of the past, and the legacy here is all the asbestos is still in place,” epidemiologist Dr. Marty Kanarek, professor of population health sciences and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, told “Asbestos is still the most frightening thing in environmental epidemiology. It’s been an unbelievable scourge.”

Asbestos, which was once considered a useful product, becomes a serious problem when it ages and deteriorates or when it is disturbed. That’s when the microscopic fibers become airborne.

It is tightly regulated today in new construction, but anyone involved with the renovation, demolition or remodeling of an older structure could be in danger. Drilling, sanding, sawing or tearing out asbestos products can send fibers into the air.

Serious health issues can develop decades later if those fibers are inhaled or ingested. The tiny fibers can lodge themselves in the thin membrane surrounding the lungs or the abdomen and cause scarring, which can eventually lead to a number of health issues.

Unsuspecting victims can be diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer 20-50 years after exposure because of the long latency period.

An estimated 10,000 people in this country die each year from an asbestos-related disease. Be aware of your surroundings and be vigilant. Take the necessary precautions if you work around asbestos.

If you live in an older home, you likely are living near asbestos, although there is no reason to panic.

Asbestos products are usually not dangerous if still in good shape. It’s when they age and become worn that fibers will become airborne.

That’s where the risk is. If you suspect a problem, contact Hazpro Environmental to come analyze the situation.