Just saying the word asbestos out loud is enough to make most homeowners and parents worry. Everybody wonders about the asbestos exposure limit (is there such a thing?) and the health complications that go along with it.
Why are we still seeing it everywhere? Because for years and years the construction industry loved asbestos. It was cheap, flame resistant, and an insulator from electricity.
Asbestos was commonly found in floor and ceiling tiles, roof shingles, exterior insulation, pipe cement, and joint compound between pieces of sheetrock.
It wasn’t until years later when it had been widely distributed and used, that we discovered the long-term serious health risks associated with asbestos exposure.
Since that time, there has been a lot of misinformation floating around out there about the asbestos exposure limit. So let’s get the straight facts…
Is There A Safe Asbestos Exposure Limit?
The simple answer is no, there is no safe limit of asbestos exposure. Of course, the more you’re exposed to it, the more likely that health issues will result. But the number zero means zero health risks.
There are asbestos exposure limits for various industries. The Occupational Safety and Health Commission (OSHA) has set a permissible asbestos exposure limit (PEL) of 0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter (f/cc) for industries like construction and shipping.
But if we’re talking about your home, you need to have a strict zero exposure policy. This is your home, where you sleep and where your family lives. There is no acceptable risk or asbestos exposure limit.
The Health Risks Of Asbestos
Asbestos is dangerous when it’s cut, sanded, or disturbed in almost any way. This causes the particles to become airborne, where they can get into your lungs and cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs.
It is particularly dangerous because it can stay in the air for as long as 7-8 hours.
Some of the more serious health risks you face from prolonged exposure include:
- Lung Cancer
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Pleural plaques
How prevalent is this in this day and age? Every year 2,000 to 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma. This a rare and very aggressive type of cancer caused almost exclusively by asbestos.
If you feel like you’ve been exposed to asbestos or a building you used to work in has been found to contain asbestos, you can look for mesothelioma doctors by clicking here.
Some of the symptoms you should be looking out for include:
- Shortness of breath while performing routine activities
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
How Do I Know If My House Has Asbestos?
Some people will tell you that if your house was built before 1981 to have it tested for asbestos.
That doesn’t mean a house built in 1982 is going to be asbestos free. Or 1992, or even 2002 for that matter. The only way to know for sure is to have an air quality test.
When you think of all the other costs that go into buying a house and the sheer amount of money you’re investing in it, the cost of an air quality test is really insignificant.
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