In the era of Do-It-Yourself home renovations, there are still important processes where you should back off a little bit and let professionals do the work. One great example is the removal of asbestos.
What is asbestos?
In the early 40s up to the 70s, asbestos was widely used in building homes and establishments. It’s a cheap yet highly effective fire-resistant material that proved to be the best option for thermal and acoustic insulation back then. It’s inexpensive, durable, heat and fire-resistant. What more can you ask for?
This fibrous material was applied to beams, columns and other parts of the house to make them fire-proof. It was also applied later on to these household materials:
- vinyl materials in roof shingles
- wall board
- floor tiles
- joint compounds
Despite its proven benefits, there are still downsides to it. Asbestos poses health hazards more than you know. The thousands of breathable dust in this material can cause lung failure and other diseases. That’s why it’s not advisable to deal with this substance by yourself.
How can it affect you?
As mentioned, accidental inhalation of asbestos can lead to several diseases, mostly lung related. When asbestos is damaged over time, you are exposed to its potentially risky microscopic fibres.
This happens mostly when a wall fire-proofed with asbestos crumbles, or when hit, rubbed, or made contact with the extreme vibration from power tools. Sounds like home renovation doesn’t it? The dust particles of asbestos are too tiny, you won’t even know you inhaled them already.
Once these fibres get the chance to enter your system, it will aggravate tissues in the lungs that can cause long-term scarring and inflammation of the lungs.
While we understand if you want to do DIY renovations in your house for economical reasons, it’s really not advisable to do it yourself. Especially when you know your home was built in the 70s and there’s asbestos in it. Or worse, you don’t know if your house is filled with this material and you start tearing down walls without any safety precautions.
There are three major diseases that are connected to accidental inhalation of asbestos fibres: asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Asbestosis is the scarring of the lungs that must be taken seriously. Scarring of the lungs may result in restricted breathing and shortness of breath. Once these symptoms happen, insufficient oxygen will enter your bloodstream that is needed by the organs to perform their functions.
If not treated early, asbestosis can even lead to cardiac failure.
The other disease that you can get from inhaling asbestos is lung cancer. Yes, you can still get this type of cancer even if you’re not a smoker. It only goes to show how dangerous asbestos fibres can be. These dusts can lodge onto your lung tissue and cause enough damage to your cells and turn them into cancerous ones.
Lastly, mesothelioma. It’s one of the rarest forms of cancer that occurs in the membrane lining of the chest, abdomen, lungs, or heart. Its difference with lung cancer is that mesothelioma develops only in the membrane lining and not in the lungs itself.
If you are diagnosed with this disease, you’ll experience chest pains and shortness of breath. Unfortunately, this type of cancer will only show itself and be detected once it already spreads. After diagnosis, patients are given 12 months of life expectancy.
What can you do?
Asbestos is truly a silent killer. But there are preventive measures that you can do. First, is to never remove the asbestos in your home all by yourself. After reading all the health risks that we’ve mentioned above, we hope that you’re already calling off that renovation you’ve been planning.
Second is that you call the experts on this field. Asbestos inspection companies like Greenlight Services can survey your house, provide you a detailed report, and give you expert and sound advice on what’s needed to be done to manage the health risk of asbestos in your house.