Asbestos, as explained by the NHS, is a material that is now widely banned, but was used in insulation, flooring and roofing. When disturbed, fibres of the material can break off, leading to serious health issues if inhaled, including lung cancer. While the conditions caused by asbestos are serious, they can be prevented by taking certain precautions in the home and workplaces and knowing your risk.
Be Aware of Asbestos in Your Home
If you have an older home, then asbestos may have been used to construct it. This is not always a problem, as asbestos is not dangerous when undisturbed, and the main risk is fibres becoming dislodged when you have construction work done. The best thing you can do is to find out about your risk through asbestos testing, which is when professionals come to look at your home and will tell you if it contains asbestos, and what you should do. Oregon State University explains that you should never try to remove asbestos yourself, as this can cause fibres to break off. You should always bring in a professional company to remove asbestos. They also offer tips on cleaning tiles that are made of asbestos, such as avoiding sanding and buffing.
Take Care with Asbestos in the Workplace
As asbestos.com explains, people in certain industries, such as construction, manufacturing, and shipbuilding can often be exposed to asbestos in the workplace, leading to future health consequences. The Health and Safety Executive advises that workers in these industries always know their risks, and undergo proper training. You should never eat or drink in your work area and should avoid bringing your work clothes into the home, as fibres may cling to them. You should also make sure that your employer provides special protective clothing if you work in a high-risk industry.
See a Health Professional
If you are worried that you may have been exposed to asbestos, either at home or in the workplace, you should see a health professional. Make an appointment with your GP, who may then choose to refer you to a specialist. They will be able to evaluate the risk and examine your lungs for signs of damage. The American Cancer Society explains that they may be able to help you stop smoking, which reduces the risks of asbestos-related disease, in addition to providing you with regular check-ups and CT scans to check for illness.
Being exposed to asbestos, or finding out you have been exposed in the past, can be a worrying experience. The best thing you can do is to take sensible precautions at work, while also becoming aware of your risk at home through professional asbestos testing. If you feel worried about your lungs or about asbestos exposure, you should see your GP for a consultation. You can also contact an expert in asbestos testing for more information.