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Asbestos was once the preferred material for building purposes is it in the home or ships or elsewhere. It is a natural mineral that was mined in the US since the late 1800s. Owing to excellent fire retardant properties, asbestos was used for insulation, roofing, fireproofing, and soundproofing. Only much later was the link between asbestos and mesothelioma discovered, and the use of the material was banned in 1990.
Almost 200 years of use of asbestos cannot be simply wiped away, and asbestos remains in our midst in many products dating back to the period when it was prolifically used. One among these asbestos-based products is blown-in insulation. As the name suggests, it refers to the material that was usually blown-in to building cavities as an insulation retrofit. It was also used in attics where access is physically difficult.
Blown-in insulation contained asbestos fibers, and it was used in commercial, industrial and residential properties. Many of these asbestos-contaminated buildings still exist rendering them unsafe for human habitation. Contractors working in the decades preceding the 1970s found this a good material to use for insulation as it kept the cold out, was fire-resistant, and the house remained warm. At the time, they did not know what a health hazard they were being exposed to in handling this material and contaminating the atmosphere for the residents of the house as well.
Asbestos fibers are friable and easily disintegrate to float in the air around. When inhaled, some fibers lodge in the linings of the vital organs and cause irritation that leads to inflammation. A prolonged gestation period ends in symptoms that eventually spell malignancy. The disease has no known cure and mesothelioma doctors simply adopt a palliative approach. So it is imperative that asbestos in any form be removed from buildings dating from the period before 1980.
It is entirely possible that you have been living in a house or working in a building that has blown-in insulation of asbestos and everything is right so far. The danger is that the material may wear or break down over time and release microscopic particles into the air. The danger is in breathing this contaminated air that is a portent of serious and fatal illness. While many industrial nations have enforced bans of asbestos, the United States has failed to render all asbestos-containing products illegal. It is imperative that you consult a professional about removing asbestos from your building or at least rendering it safe by using precautionary measures.
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