Most of us go about our daily lives, using normal products, and being in regular locations, without thinking of ourselves as silent victims of contamination. With contamination, one would associate the meaning of physical contact with chemicals or toxic materials that are a threat to the well-being of an individual.
Things to consider for potential health threats include the obvious- too much radiation from microwaves, mercury in thermometers, car emissions, and radiation from constant use of a cell phone. But, we should also consider the things that go into the structures we occupy everyday- such as buildings and homes. Are we fully aware of the materials that go into the walls that make up our homes?
Likely, if you own a home built prior to the 1970’s- the threat for harmful materials such as asbestos were used to make up many of the materials that went into the construction of our homes. In addition, older buildings which we occupy on a daily basis can similarly contain harmful materials.
Has your workplace renovated their building or office space recently? Asbestos materials in the bricks, insulation, and even wallpaper of these older establishments are most likely present. Its important to ensure safety precautions were taken while these renovations took place- as asbestos fibers can remain in the air of buildings that have recently been “disrupted.”
Furthermore, there are many occupations where asbestos containing materials are commonly found, even today. Some of these include occupations such as shipbuilding facilities, paper mills, mining, firefighting, and construction. Proper on the job training, as well as company involvement with its contaminated materials can ensure proper steps are taken for the safety of all its employees.
Asbestos symptoms include, and are not limited to coughing, heavy breathing, swelling, or high blood pressure and can lead to more serious threats such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. If you experience any of these symptoms, and think you could have been exposed to asbestos, visiting your local doctor is advised.
There are many resources online that can be used to seek information on asbestos in your city or neighborhood, such as this NYC asbestos map. Be sure you are fully aware of hazardous areas, and are able to identify areas that could be a potential threat for your health, to ensure the safety of you, as well as your family.