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Is asbestos still a concern in 2020?

By Camille Panaro, M.S. ES., M.S. Ed.

When I was young, it was not unusual for adults to talk about toxic waste or hazardous materials. I grew up in an old, industrial city with a landfill as the prominent feature. I heard conversations regularly about buildings that contained a dangerous compound called asbestos. I attended an old private school and even older public schools in middle school and high school. It seemed there was often an asbestos removal project taking place in various parts of the schools I attended. I thought nothing of it when I was younger, however, as an adult, I know asbestos is quite serious.

Honestly, I didn’t really think that this hazardous material was relevant or even still a concern until about 10 years ago. I think I was under the impression that schools were up to speed on compliance measures and that homes were generally safe.

About 10 years ago, I heard that a local public elementary school went through an asbestos removal process. Asbestos was not in all parts of the building but, it was certainly in areas where young students were learning. The affected areas were sectioned off and the abatement process took place behind drapes and tarps to somehow limit exposure.

This got me thinking. Since asbestos was present in a local public school 10 years ago – it is safe to say that asbestos is still a public health concern. But why?

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What makes asbestos hazardous to our health anyway? 

The Environmental Protection Agency outlines very specific health concerns related to asbestos exposure. Three of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure are:

  • lung cancer
  • mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest and the abdomen and heart
  • asbestosis, a serious progressive, long-term, non-cancer disease of the lungs

Certain populations are at a greater risk of developing symptoms, specifically smokers. Of course, disease symptoms may take years to develop and greatly depend on the amount of exposure a person has experienced.

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With that being said, it’s important to note that asbestos containing materials are not necessarily bad for our health, until they are disrupted in some way. Disturbances are caused by deteriorating home structures like tiles, drywall, or crumbling parts of the house. Also, construction or renovation projects that disturb or damage asbestos-containing material release particles into the air. It is during this time that exposure occurs.

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If you are a resident or commercial property owner, and you are concerned about asbestos, call our experts today to determine the safest and most cost effective course of action. AMD Environmental Consultants specializes in asbestos testing, surveys, and inspections. Our asbestos-related services include pre-demolition and general building surveys, asbestos abatement air and/or project monitoring, bulk and air sampling to determine asbestos exposure, and laboratory analysis.

Our professionals can quickly and accurately determine the levels of asbestos exposure your family or employees are experiencing.

We’re just a phone call away!