Asbestos is a group of six minerals, which are made of fine fibers and relatively easy to find in nature. Due to the fact that it’s resistant to fire and the elements, it is a great material for construction. That’s exactly where it was used until the ‘70s when it was discovered that the chemical is actually quite dangerous and that prolonged exposure to it could cause a lot of health problems.
If you’re buying or renovating a property, it’s important to familiarize yourself with both the building’s history and the dangers that asbestos poses.
How Much Exposure
The doctors would say that long-term second-hand exposure to asbestos will cause a variety of health problems, from coughing to cancer. However, it’s difficult to say what “long-term” and “second-hand” mean in this context.
However, one thing is for certain – during renovation and demolition, the asbestos fibers get into the air and that makes the effects much more serious. Also, if you breathe in these fibers, they could remain in the lungs, as well as cause digestion issues.
This is a form of cancer that’s mostly found in construction workers who have been exposed to asbestos directly, but it could also afflict those who have been exposed to asbestos for a while. It manifests itself with breathing problems, which is why a lot of patients don’t pay attention to it until it advances.
X-rays, CT scanners, and biopsy are what it takes to diagnose it and it’s treated like any other cancer – with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
It’s a lung disease that could be pretty hard to notice until it gets very serious. It takes years of exposure until the effects become noticeable and it could be mistaken for a few other lung-related problems. The symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and the one that’s the hardest to notice – roundness of fingernails.
It isn’t curable, but there are ways to manage it with medication and by regularly taking oxygen. In some cases, there might also be a need for a lung transplant, but that’s rather rare.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is an obstructive pulmonary disease that isn’t exactly caused by asbestos, but the exposure to it could make the symptoms appear faster and more aggressive. It’s manifested by frequent coughing, tightness of the chest and wheezing.
It can be treated with oxygen, antibiotics and mostly by exercise and refraining from smoking and other harmful materials.
When it comes to asbestos, the best thing to do is not wait until you have any alarming symptoms. When you’re renovating an older property or tearing it down to build a new one, ask for professional help. Experts for asbestos removal in Sydney have all the equipment and technical skills to do this in the safest way possible.
It also might be a good idea to investigate the soil on which the building is made because there could be contamination there as well, after a long exposure.
Talk to your doctor
Most of the asbestos-related health problems take a long time to manifest themselves and the symptoms start small and almost unnoticeable. This is why it’s important to have regular checkups even if you don’t feel sick at the moment.
Make sure to tell the doctor about all the problems you’ve been having even if they are minor and inform them about your living conditions and lifestyle.
Asbestos could be very dangerous especially to those who work in construction and are exposed to it directly. Hire professionals to renovate an old property and take the safety measures seriously.