Should I Be Concerned About Asbestos?

Should I Be Concerned About Asbestos?
Recently, asbestos has been highlighted in the news because of the wrong and highly political decision made by the Quebec Government to provide a $58 million loan to the failing asbestos industry.
Got Mold? posted two articles on this subject last week:
Quebec Pumps $58 Million into Certain Death
The Politics of Asbestos: Canada’s Ugly Secret
This is a sad day in Canadian history because there was some hope that Canada would be completely out of the asbestos business in the latter part of 2011 when the Jeffrey Mine had to halt production.
You may be wondering, what exactly is asbestos and why should I be concerned?
There are many resources on the internet. I recommend the Asbestos Disease Awareness Association (ADAO) founded by Linda Reinstein because they highlight the risks of asbestos from the perspective of victims. Here are seven key facts I learned from the ADAO.
1. Asbestos is a proven human carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure.
2. Asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, lung and gastrointestinal cancers, and an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. The average life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient is six – twelve months.
3. Asbestos diseases have a 10 – 50 year latency period from initial exposure to development of disease.
4. Chrysotile asbestos accounts for nearly 95% of asbestos mined and exported today. The top five asbestos producing countries are Russia, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Canada.
5. 55 countries have banned asbestos, but the U.S. and Canada have not.
6. The World Health Organization estimates that 107,000 workers die annually from exposure to asbestos. Asbestos has been mined and used in a broad range of products, materials, and applications including construction, insulation, shipyards, and many other industries.
7. Asbestos fibers can be nearly 700 times smaller than human hair and are odorless, tasteless, indestructible fibers that can remain suspended in the air for seconds.
So should you be concerned? Absolutely, asbestos is scary!
Got Mold? has dealt with several asbestos abatement projects, both residential and commercial. When we take on a project, our workers wear protective gear and masks to ensure that they do not breath in asbestos fibres; even a small amount of dust is lethal.
According to Asbestos.com:
Homes and apartments built before 1980 often are filled with asbestos, needing only normal wear and tear with age to dislodge the fibers and send them airborne. Asbestos can be found in floor tiles, roofs, furnaces, plumbing, appliances, fireplaces and window caulking, leaving most everyone vulnerable.
Click here to review a detailed diagram of where asbestos can be found in your home.
As the diagram indicates, there are many areas in a home where asbestos can be found. Take a moment and review this asbestos image gallery.
With this in mind, our advice to homeowners is to be careful if they take on a Do It Yourself (DIY) project. Don’t rush into a project that could potentially disturb and release asbestos fibres into the air. And if you are unsure if you have asbestos in your home, contact a professional for a thorough asbestos inspection and assessment.
Take 5 and Stay Alive, it could be the most important 5 minutes of your life!

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