Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is present in many commercial, public, and residential buildings constructed prior to the 1980s. If you live in a home built before then, or are a home inspector and work with older public or commercial building it’s important to know where asbestos might be located and what steps you can take to avoid exposure.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that has been used in an estimated three to five thousand different products over the past century, ranging from construction materials to home appliances. The substance was used in construction and ship-building as well as in many manufacturing industries.
Asbestos was very widely used between the 1940s and 1980s in a variety of construction materials, as well as in household appliances and items such as brake pads and linings. The high tensile strength, high heat resistance, and chemical and physical stability of asbestos made it universally popular for many industrial purposes.However, many of the mineral’s chemical and physical properties also make it toxic. When viewed under a powerful microscope, asbestos fibers resemble tiny needles, and this structure allows them to become embedded in the body’s tissues if asbestos is inhaled or otherwise ingested. Asbestos is so chemically and physically stable that it’s very difficult for the body to breakdown or expel the fibers.If the fibers are inhaled they can lodge in lung tissue or in the lining of the lungs. Over time, the fibers cause chronic inflammation that can lead to the development of diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. Asbestosis is a chronic lung condition that develops as inflammation causes scar tissue to develop. Mesothelioma is a rare but very aggressive type of cancer that can develop after exposure to a relatively low dose of asbestos fibers. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of this cancer, and affects the lining of lungs. As home inspectors we must know that any home built prior to 1980 will contain some asbestos products. For mor information please visit www.asbestos.com

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