Asbestos has long been found to cause serious and life-threatening diseases, particularly when asbestos fibers are inhaled into the lungs. While it’s generally safe to have asbestos-containing materials around provided that they are tightly sealed and left undisturbed, these may one day put you or your family at risk of being exposed to asbestos.
So how do you reduce the risk of asbestos exposure?
1. Inside the Home
Older homes, particularly those built pre-1990, are widely accepted to have been constructed with materials that contained asbestos. This shouldn’t be a problem unless you intend to carry out some renovations, demolitions, or additions. In which case, you’ll need to hire a professional to do a survey and test for asbestos and asbestos-containing material that may be disturbed once construction or renovations start. If asbestos is found, hire a qualified expert on asbestos removal to avoid increasing your risk of exposure to it. Never try to disturb these materials yourself. Also, be sure to have your attic inspected for asbestos presence as well, particularly if they have vermiculite-based attic insulation.
2. During Car Maintenance
Asbestos can also be found in cars, specifically in brake and transmission parts. These may be disturbed during car maintenance. To avoid or decrease the risk of exposure to this harmful substance when doing car maintenance, contact your auto parts supplier first to find out if any of the parts of your car contain asbestos before doing any work on your car yourself. Also, have your clutch or brakes checked out and service at a commercial auto shop; they’d know what to do with it.
3. At Work
If you work in the construction or maintenance industry, there’s a chance you may be working with asbestos down the road. First, find out if your work area has asbestos present. If your job entails you to handle asbestos, make sure you’re well protected, and avoid disturbing the asbestos yourself as this will not only increase your risk of exposure, but also your co-workers’. Above all, you should be trained to deal with asbestos and toxic spills.
If you haven’t already been trained, and your job puts you at risk for exposure to asbestos or other harmful substances, request that you be allowed to undergo asbestos and hazwoper certification from OSHA-accredited institutions. While your company should be responsible for ensuring that the workplace is safe, you also need to do your part by ensuring that you go into your job well-prepared and with the right certification and qualifications.
Asbestos can be deadly, so it should not be taken lightly. By careful planning and awareness, you can minimize yours and your family members’ risk for exposure to it.