Asbestos is a highly fibrous mineral whose qualities made it one of the most desirable building materials in the 20th century. Manufacturers of asbestos were aware of its potentially harmful components, but continued shipping the product anyways. Its main uses were found as insulation, piping, brake lining, flooring and roofing. Located on the Ohio River, asbestos exposure incidents in Kentucky have mainly occurred as a result of industrial sites.
How Asbestos Affects You
Potential home buyers in Louisville or those seeking to remodel older homes should be aware that many homes and buildings built before 1980 could still contain asbestos. This doesn’t mean you should be frightened because asbestos exposure can be easily prevented with the proper precautions. Although asbestos in the home is a concern, not all asbestos poses problems. It is only when asbestos becomes damaged and its fibers become airborne, where exposure can be a health concern.
Frequent and long term exposure to asbestos has been known to cause asbestosis and pleural mesothelioma, two forms of asbestos lung cancer. Although progress has been made with mesothelioma treatments, physician prognosis is usually poor and fatal. Research has alluded that it can take up to 20 to 50 years for this illness to develop. Although significant progress has been made with mesothelioma treatments, patient prognosis is usually poor.
What To Do If You Find Asbestos
If any asbestos is located in the home, most experts recommend leaving it un-disturbed as not all asbestos poses concerns. Asbestos that is disturbed or damaged due to age is known as “friable” asbestos. This is a serious concern because its toxic fibers can easily circulate and become inhaled. A professional home inspector can determine the best course of action to take.
Sometimes, the best action is no action. If asbestos removal is necessary, it should be performed by licensed abatement contractors who are trained in handling toxic materials. The Kentucky Division For Air Quality strives to protect the environment and civilian health by monitoring and assisting in the disposal and removal of asbestos.
Once the removal is complete, green insulation alternatives now exist that replace the need for asbestos entirely. These eco-friendly options include cotton fiber, lycnene foam and cellulose. They provide home owners with the same intrinsic qualities possessed by asbestos, a healthy replacement and can even reduce annual energy costs. Studies have shown that the use of cotton fiber can reduce energy costs up to 25 percent annually. As a home owner, you have additional responsibilities to make sure you are living in a hospitable environment. This information will allow you to live free of any health damaging materials.
Update: Another source for help for mesothelioma can be found here.