The Hazards Of Asbestos

You may have seen the commercials that pose the question, “do you have Mesothelioma or been exposed to asbestos?”  Let’s face it, most people have no idea what asbestos looks like, what it was used for, or why it is dangerous to human health.

Asbestos was first used as a construction material because it was durable, cheap, and flexible, and most importantly acted as a great insulating and fireproofing agent.  This is why, in New Jersey, you see asbestos shingles on the side of many of the seaside homes in Ocean Grove, where the homes are only a few feet apart.  In the 1970’s the dangers of the asbestos fibers became understood by the public and were stop being used by the construction industry.  Products today can be made with asbestos if it accounts for less than 1 percent of the product. Current products include brake pads, automobile clutches, roofing materials, vinyl tile, cement piping, and home insulation.

Asbestos is dangerous when it is inhaled into the body.  The asbestos fibers become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, or even get trapped down in the lungs.  Once the fibers are trapped, they can cause health problems such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.  

The fibers are not released by asbestos containing materials when they are undisturbed.  This is why many buildings built or renovated before the 1970’s remain with asbestos containing materials.  The asbestos must become friable, or able to be crumbled by hand, to release the fibers.  Removing, demolishing, breaking, and cutting asbestos containing materials can release the fibers and be dangerous to human health.  Asbestos removal and disposal is now regulated by the NJ Department of Labor and Department of Environmental Protection.

There are a few factors to determine the likelihood of developing an asbestos related disease.  First is the duration of the person’s exposure.  There is no safe level of exposure, but the more exposure, the higher risk of developing a disease.  The other factors include the person’s age and if they have a history of smoking.  

If you have any questions pertaining to asbestos removal, please feel free to contact Mazza Recycling and we can put you in touch with a licensed asbestos contractor.