To understand what asbestosis is and why it’s dangerous, you first have to understand what asbestos is. You know those popcorn ceilings you see in a lot of older homes? Perhaps you have it in your home? Well, this is the product of asbestos—a mineral material used for insulation for many decades. In the mid-20th century, it was discovered that these small mineral fibers were actually harmful, being inhaled by residents and causing serious illness.
The effects are not immediate, either. Over the years, asbestos can build up in your lungs, creating a range of respiratory illnesses, with the most severe being mesothelioma, a harmful form of lung cancer. Because of this, asbestos hasn’t been used any longer for insulation, but many homes still have it in their living spaces, where it should be removed.
What Is Asbestosis?
As you’ve likely guessed by now, asbestosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Prolonged exposure to these microscopic fibers will cause scarring and shortness of breath. The symptoms of asbestosis unfortunately typically don’t appear until years, sometimes even decades, after the initial exposure, which is why it’s so important to have your home inspected for this material.
Now, left untouched and undisturbed, your popcorn ceilings or any drywall that has asbestos won’t spread any fibers around, but it can’t be promised that this will never be disturbed. Even an event as minor as dropping something in an upstairs bedroom can cause asbestos to break loose and enter your indoor air.
“What If I Have Asbestosis?”
If you suspect this to be the case, the first thing you should do is contact a medical professional. This is especially true if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- A persistent, dry cough
- Chest tightness or pain
“What Are My Risks?”
The average homeowner typically doesn’t have too high of a risk of asbestos exposure, unless you have a gravity furnace. This is a heating system that employs gravity to move warm air through a building instead of relying on fans. These furnaces are a bit antiquated now, but if you do have one, it can exacerbate the spread of asbestos.
Asbestos exposure is also a risk if you work in certain trades, such as:
- Aircraft and auto mechanics
- Shipyard workers
- Workers who remove asbestos
Now, just because certain occupations are at a higher risk and the list doesn’t include you, doesn’t mean that the risk doesn’t exist. If you have asbestos in your home, then you have the chance of being impacted by asbestosis.
The best way to find out what your risk is, and to have the asbestos removed before it becomes an asbestosis risk is by contacting our team for professional asbestos removal services. We look forward to lowering your risk and helping to improve your overall indoor air quality. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team!