Most people find it difficult to comprehend that a microscopic dust particle, too small to see, can wreak havoc on the human body.
I may have an edge in identifying the materials that shed this residue as a construction worker, but this also makes me more exposed to its effects. This, in turn, motivates me to do whatever it takes to avoid it or possibly shed it myself if I come into contact with it by accident in any number of situations.
My discovery occurred when I unintentionally removed an asbestos material from my home. The resulting condition of the entire house as a result of this accident left me with a sore chest, dry and itchy skin, and eyes. My wife complained of extreme thirst, and my 14-year-old son developed severe asthma. This went on for about five to six months. During this time, I was desperately trying to figure out if we were living with an unsafe level of asbestos.
The material I had removed was tested, and it was discovered to contain 20% chrysotile asbestos. Because the area had been so well ventilated, air sampling proved unreliable. However, the demolition debris covered the furnishings, carpets, walls, and all other personal belongings. Everyone tried to downplay the gravity of the situation, but it was clear to me that it was not a healthy environment.
So, armed with knowledge of the physical properties of asbestos, I set out to try to logically deduce when I encountered the substance while attempting to clean every surface and item in every room of the house.
That happened fifteen years ago. During that time, I learned more about the places where we all come into contact with asbestos materials on a daily basis. I made mental notes about how I and others reacted to these encounters. There have been numerous incidents, ranging from sore throats and skin conditions (acne and basil cell skin cancer) to asthma, pneumonia, and death.
I don’t have clinical evidence to back up my claims, but “If it looks, walks, and sounds like a duck, it probably is a duck,” says an old saying. Clinical trials are often proven correct when later tests show the same results. In the same way, you can also check your deductions. If low-level exposure to these leftovers always leads to the same effects, that seems like proof to me.
Without writing a book, I wouldn’t have the space to detail every observation I’ve made during this period, but I can assure you that no contact with asbestos is without a possible adverse health consequence.
Asbestos is a very lightweight Chrystal-like material with highly static electrical properties. It often produces a static discharge like when one is shocked by touching the metal switch plate or door knob in their home. It often leaves a bitter-salty taste in your mouth. It can stay airborne for days at a time.
It absorbs moisture and produces a very dry environment (which only makes the static electric situation worse.) The loose material may be accidentally contacted in a number of building types and situations.
Many buildings built before 1977 have vinyl asbestos floor tile. No one can avoid walking on this, if they enter the building. This is fine if the floor is well maintained. Look out for broken or worn and never waxed tile. This applies to any location in the building, commercial or residential. Closets are very seldom waxed. Items stored there will accumulate certain amounts of this substance.
Anytime an older building is renovated the possibility exists for a number of materials containing asbestos to be encountered.
The contractor doesn’t always do the right thing. In many instances it is cheaper to pay the fine if he is caught. So he just tears it out and throws it in the dumpster or hauls it to the dump himself. As a consequence, many newly renovated stores have a certain amount of this dust on the shelves and new merchandise in the store.
There are many more instances of contact for which I don’t have the time to detail here, but basically, with the characteristics of the material, knowledge of where you may encounter the substance, and many hours of observation (I’ve been in construction over thirty years), you too can make the same deductive conclusions that I have made.
How can I tell whether I’ve accidently come in contact with Asbestos residue?
To begin, you must comprehend the following: “This material is light enough to remain airborne for extended periods of time, it is very dry and staticy, it can leave a bitter-salty taste in your mouth, it can be irritating to the eyes and sinuses, and it attaches to the hairs on your skin and head, leaving you with a staticy-iching feeling all over your body.
(Depending on the type of asbestos material and the amount of dust you’ve come into contact with, this sensation can be faint or prominent.)” When combined with the numerous incidental meetings with this stuff, this creates an intriguing task that few are ready to take on.
If you are willing to take on this challenge, the first step in resolving this sensation is to remove and isolate the clothes you were wearing, followed by a complete shower. Following dressing, the next natural step is to go back and identify the items and locations with which you came into contact between the time you made contact with the residue and the point at which the clothing were shed.
If these were solid surface goods, they could be cleaned using disposable towels and water or a spray cleaner like orange cleaner. If they are textile surfaces, such as cloth car seats or furniture, the most basic approach is to thoroughly vacuum them using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a hepa filter.
Then there’s the decision of whether to throw away the clothing or try to clean them. If you wash them in a clothes washer, one wash will not suffice. It is also critical to wash them separately from other clothes. Cotton items will ultimately clear up, however polyester and nylon may never be clean.
Given the preceding facts, it is easy to see the rationality in wearing only cotton clothing and being mindful of the path you travel after meeting any suspicious situations.
If this practice doesn’t pique your attention, you generally have little reason to stick with it.
Whether you suffer from any of the following ailments that I’ve been able to link to asbestos dust, you might want to attempt this practice to see if the problem improves.
Any admission of this dust into the airways, such as the sinuses, notrils, eustation tubes, back of throats, broncial tubes, or even the stomach, might cause inflammation. As a result, ailments including sore throats, strep throat, toncilitis, sinus infections, and inner ear infections can all be traced back to continuous irritation caused by asbestos residues. Broncitis and pneumonia can be caused by irritation of the bronchial tubes. Another effect of exposure is a sour or sore feeling in the isofigus, which may mimic heartburn.
Exposure can also harm the eyes and the outer ear. Pink eye, blurring, and outer ear infections are all possibilities.
Another damp region where tiny particles might dissolve into human fluids. As these fluids evaporate, the fine asbestos residue remains, damaging the surrounding tissue and inducing irritation and immune system responses.
The skin is the most afflicted surface. Depending on the location, several distinct impacts might be visible. Acne frequently affects the face and shoulders of those who are prone to it. Asbestos fibers become encapsulated in the big holes.
can create continual irritation as well as infection by acne bacteria that is typically found on the skin. Other regions of the face that come into contact with an asbestos-laden hat, pillow, or even one’s own hair can develop acne. Other places may have dry, cracked skin, contact dermatitis, or even a yeast infection.
I’ve also discovered athlete’s foot after an unintentional walk through an area recently stripped of asbestos tiles. Because of the amount of asbestos dust left in the mastic adhesive and porous concrete, the shoes become embedded with the substance. Wearing these shoes exposes the skin of the feet and toes to fungus infection, such as athlete’s foot. Some of this dust finds its way to other sections of the body, each with its own story of immune system compromise.
This is just another day in the life of a person who has been exposed to low amounts of asbestos residues in a variety of scenarios that we should avoid when they are identified.
This Article was summited by: Rick Raymond a Construction Electrician with a sincere interest in health and science.