Exposure to asbestos can happen nearly anywhere, mostly due to decades-long irresponsible use of asbestos by industries in all corners.
Asbestos was mostly used in construction projects from family homes, corporate office buildings, ships, cars, and more. There is a high chance your home may be filled with this cancerous substance.
Asbestos exposure at home happens in older homes, specifically those built before the 1980s. The toxic substance, which is the only known cause of mesothelioma, could be built into your kitchen appliances, hiding in your walls, or sitting on your roof shingles. It could also be laying on your couch or blended into that bottle of baby powder.
Home Appliances With Asbestos
Asbestos was used primarily for its durability and resistance to heat. It had the ability to preserve the condition of household elements for decades. Any appliances containing heating elements or at risk of catching on fire or heat damage were obvious choices for asbestos inclusion.
These appliances, along with asbestos, filled American homes with the potential for asbestos exposure:
● Water heaters
● Washing and drying machines
● Baking ovens
● Coffee pots
● Popcorn poppers
● Oven mitts
● Stoves and stovetops
● Electrical sockets
● Light bulbs
● Ironing boards
Asbestos Exposure From Renovation Projects
In the middle of the 20th century, newly built homes lined the streets of developing American neighborhoods. After 50, 60, or even 70 years, those homes no longer have their “new” label.
They’re old, classic family homes in need of renovation. Outdated appliances deteriorated foundations, and popcorn ceilings are signs of a much-needed refresh. However, old American homes are very likely to contain dangerous amounts of asbestos, and any attempt to fix up an old home could be dangerous.
Home renovation projects can lead to asbestos exposure and have deadly consequences. “Legacy asbestos” refers to asbestos remaining in old deteriorating buildings from their construction during the asbestos era. Knocking down walls, replacing or power washing roof shingles, eradicating mold, and other home-renovation projects can disturb this fragile legacy of asbestos.
Any disturbance of asbestos can send sharp, microscopic fragments into the air. Since renovation jobs often require breathing in tight, asbestos-dust-filled spaces, working without proper protective equipment can potentially lead to deadly asbestos exposure.
Infecting Health and Beauty Products
Although asbestos is not as frequently used in construction as it once was, it has been known to sneak into products that include neighboring minerals as an ingredient. One example is talc.
Talc and asbestos are often found in the same geographical areas, which means they can be unknowingly mixed together during the mining process. Talc is ground into a white powder, called talcum powder, which can absorb moisture and keep skin healthy. It is used in cosmetics, cleaning products, and more.
The loose asbestos strands can contaminate the powder, putting any consumer at risk. In recent years, talc products like Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder have emerged as potential home exposure methods. The company even went as far as to pull products with the original talc formula from the North American market in 2020, replacing the base ingredient with cornstarch.
Workers Bringing Asbestos Into the Home
During the 20th century, one of the most common at-home exposure methods involved the transfer of loose asbestos fibers from one person to another. Workers in at-risk occupations — construction and insulation, automobile repair and manufacturing, electrical work, and more — would unknowingly bring asbestos dust home on their clothes, stuck to their skin, or embedded in their hair.
Their spouse, children, or even parents could be exposed by hugging the worker, touching the same household objects, spending time close to each other, or even washing the asbestos-dusted work uniform.
While most industries in the U.S. no longer use asbestos, any repair or renovation jobs can put workers at risk. There’s still a chance of bringing “legacy asbestos” home from old buildings or vehicles.
Unfortunately, due to asbestos’ microscopic size, it’s nearly impossible to tell when you’re in the presence of asbestos. The most crucial safety precaution to take is awareness. Educate yourself on the dangers of asbestos and where it might be hiding.
Albany Asbestos is a local asbestos testing/inspection company.
Albany Asbestos LLC located in Albany NY has performed thousands of inspections. Give us a call today for all of your asbestos inspection, testing, and surveying needs.
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