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by Wendy Stackhouse · June 13, 2012

Asbestos Risks: More Than Just Cancer

You have probably heard of Mesothelioma, cancer of the membranes around the lungs, and it’s cause: asbestos exposure. But there is more than Mesothelioma to worry about.

Mesothelioma is a disease we hear about on television every day—there are a lot of lawyers out there representing victims of asbestos exposure many years after the fact. Mesothelioma can take literally decades to present itself and is largely incurable. Any asbestos fibers breathed in by a person can lodge in their respiratory system, a silent killer waiting to strike.
How do people get exposed to asbestos?

The National Cancer Institute lists these occupations which may have exposed workers to asbestos:

“Shipbuilding trades
Asbestos mining and milling
Manufacturing of asbestos textiles and other asbestos products
Insulation work in the construction and building trades
Demolition workers
Drywall removers
Asbestos removal workers
Firefighters
Automobile workers
Individuals involved in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup at the site of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, including firefighters, police officers, paramedics, construction workers and volunteers, as well as people who lived or went to school near Ground Zero.”

What are the risks of asbestos exposure other than Mesothelioma?

In a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, scientists found higher rates of heart disease and stroke in people who had been exposed to asbestos. The study looked at asbestos victims who had died between 1971 and 2005 and concluded that there was a 63% increase in risk of stroke and heart disease over people who had not been exposed to asbestos. 63% is huge.

Since the late 70’s, the use of asbestos has been reduced many times by government regulation, first banned from use in gas fireplaces and wall patching compound. In 1979, manufacturers stopped using asbestos in hair dryers and in 1989 the EPA banned the use of asbestos in new products and materials, but allowed uses that began before 1989. There are regulations about inspecting school buildings and eliminating the risk of exposure. But asbestos is often found in old buildings, in pipe insulation in older homes and other materials like ceiling tile and vermiculite.

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If you think you have disturbed asbestos in your home or other building, removing it is not a DIY project. Leave the area and call a professional asbestos abatement company like Alliance Environmental Group. Our teams can remove your asbestos without danger to the workers, you or your family.

Even a small release of asbestos fibers is a known carcinogen. Do not take any chances with asbestos.

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!

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