Asbestos Exposure

Exposure to asbestos carries great risk to human health. When the mineral enters the body and becomes trapped in its cells, an inflammatory response begins which can lead to cancer and other serious chronic illnesses. Most exposure to asbestos comes from commercial and industrial workplaces, but it can also be encountered in the home, in public buildings, and even in the environment.

Though asbestos use has been regulated and limitations placed on the number of asbestos workers can be exposed to, there are still known sources of exposure that are causes for concern:

  • Certain industries continue to face the risk of asbestos exposure, including the building and construction industries, where it is either still in place or still being used in insulation, roofing, sound absorption, fireproofing, and the chemical industry. Asbestos is also a contaminant in automotive parts,
    Asbestos is in homes that were built prior to the 1970s, and particularly in drywall and insulation.
  • Asbestos was used extensively in the construction of federal, state, and local administrative buildings and schools. These structures require frequent inspections, and fears of exposure have led to expensive remediation efforts.
  • There have been some concerns voiced about asbestos exposure from the use of gardening vermiculite, leading the Environmental Protection Agency to suggest that people who use it only do so outside or in a well-ventilated area and that people dampen the product to cut down on the risk of inhaling asbestos-contaminated dust.
  • First responders are at great risk for asbestos exposure because the material is frequently present and in a damaged state in the buildings that they are entering to extinguish fires or rescue victims. The same holds true for homeowners whose homes are damaged by fire, flood, earthquake, tornado and other natural disasters. In an attempt to salvage belongings or to demolish or renovate the structure, they may unwittingly expose themselves to the carcinogenic fibers that contaminate their homes internal structure.
  • Family members of people who work with asbestos are at risk of second-hand exposure to asbestos. There have been many cases of wives being diagnosed with mesothelioma after years of having shaken out and laundered their husbands’ or sons’ work clothes, which were covered with asbestos dust, and of children being sickened by climbing onto their fathers’ laps upon their return home from work each day.
  • There are concerns about asbestos contaminating certain products entering the United States, including children’s crayons, makeup and other toys.

Asbestos continues to be a great concern. To learn more, fill out the form and receive free copies of our informative guidebooks.