You likely know that the use of asbestos in building materials has been outlawed. It's been shown to cause cancer and other potentially fatal health conditions, such as chronic lung disease and digestive tract issues. Officials have cracked down and you're not going to buy any new materials containing asbestos in the United States.
Some people assume that this means the risk is gone. That's a very dangerous assumption to make.
The problem is simply that asbestos was so widely used before the health concerns came to light. Buildings were not renovated wholesale to remove it. While it will be removed by highly-trained teams to get buildings up to code when renovations are done now, many materials containing asbestos are still in place in homes and businesses all over the country.
The United States Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), warns that any actions that disturb these outdated materials are still hazardous. Tiny particles, which you can't see with the naked eye, can be shaken loose -- during demolition, for instance, at the beginning of a renovation -- and inhaled by workers or inhabitants. Asbestos remains hazardous and potentially deadly, despite its age.
Now, the risk has been reduced since new materials don't contain asbestos and workers in factories that produce these materials aren't exposed to it the way they once were. A reduction does not mean the risk has been eliminated, though.
Additionally, since the symptoms don't show up for years in many cases, a lot of aging workers will develop cancer and other health issues from exposure that happened long ago.
Would you like to know more about your options following asbestos exposure? Our website can answer many of your most pressing questions.