Children can inhale and swallow cancer-causing asbestos fibers just like everyone else if they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. If there are asbestos hazards in your home or community, you should do whatever you can to prevent your child’s exposure.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals composed of thin, microscopic fibers. The fibers are heat-resistant, strong, and are excellent insulators. Asbestos was widely used in many industries and construction applications for much of the 20th century. It was commonly incorporated into building materials, insulation, automotive parts, and numerous other products.
Exposure to airborne asbestos fibers, particularly when they are inhaled or swallowed, can lead to serious health problems, including lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart).
Where Might My Child Be Exposed to Asbestos?
Given how widespread asbestos was used, there are many locations and situations where your child may encounter asbestos.
- Older Buildings: Asbestos was commonly used in construction materials before its health risks were widely known. Older buildings, particularly those constructed before the 1980s, may still contain asbestos in insulation, roofing, flooring, and ceiling tiles
- Schools: Older schools may contain asbestos in various materials. They may be in floor and ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, and fireproofing on steel beams. If the products are in poor shape, they may shed asbestos fibers into the air. Schools must manage and monitor asbestos-containing materials to prevent exposure, but some do a better job at it than others. More than a third of US students used schools containing asbestos, according to a 1984 study. Though that number should’ve dropped considerably by now, there still could be hundreds or thousands of schools with asbestos in them
- Homes: If built before the 1980s, your home or apartment building may have asbestos-containing materials, which could include insulation, roofing, siding, and flooring materials. Disturbing these materials during renovations or repairs can release asbestos fibers into the air. If you think asbestos products are in your house, have them tested. If they’re present, they should be professionally removed or encapsulated so they don’t pose a threat. Trying to do it yourself can worsen a bad situation by liberating far more fibers into your home. If you live in an apartment and think asbestos may be present, ask your landlord to test the material. If they refuse, arrange for it yourself. If your apartment contains asbestos, notify your landlord. If they don’t deal with it, it may be grounds to break your lease because your apartment is unsafe to live in
- Vehicle repair: If your family maintains and repairs your vehicles, or you own a vehicle repair business, your children may be exposed to asbestos released when brakes, transmissions, and clutches are worked on. There are techniques and equipment you can use to make the process safer and limit asbestos exposure in the area
- Low-Income Neighborhoods: Everyone, including children, living in low-income neighborhoods has a higher risk of asbestos exposure and disease. Homes, apartment buildings, and schools are more likely to be older and not well-maintained. Property owners may be unwilling or unable to hire professionals to remove asbestos-containing materials. There also may be industrial buildings in the area containing asbestos
Children face many potential hazards in their lives. If their surroundings may include asbestos, this is something to watch out for.
How Might Asbestos Affect My Child?
If your child breathes in substantial amounts of fibers, they may develop asbestosis, which can severely restrict their breathing. Asbestos can also cause many kinds of cancer, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and cancers of the ovaries and larynx (voice box).
You try to keep your child safe, but if they fall and fracture a bone or come down with a stomach flu they caught from classmates, you discover it quickly, so you can do something about it.
It may take 30 or 40 years before asbestos-related diseases progress to the point they can be diagnosed. By then, it’s far too late to protect your child. The damage is done, so you need to be proactive to prevent these potentially fatal conditions from occurring.
Call Us Today For A Free Consultation
Satterley & Kelley, PLLC, attorneys are your boots on the ground if you or a family member in Kentucky suffers from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related condition. You can call our Louisville office at 855-385-9532 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation where we can discuss possible compensation for the harm you suffer.