Home Inspection

The Risk of Exposure to Asbestos

People who work with Asbestos Perth face a risk of developing mesothelioma or other diseases. The risk varies depending on the duration and intensity of exposure.

Hundreds of occupations exposed workers to asbestos. Some of the most common include:


Asbestos is a group of fibrous minerals (amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, anthophyllite, and tremolite) found in some rock formations. These minerals are strong, flexible, and heat resistant. For these reasons, asbestos was used for manufacturing and in building materials and commercial products until it was determined that the material is a health risk. Exposure to the mineral can cause lung damage, including cancer.

The danger of asbestos has led to its use being phased out of manufacturing and other commercial uses. Until that occurred, workers were exposed to the dangerous mineral on a daily basis in numerous industries including construction, paper manufacturing, and friction products such as brake, clutch, and transmission parts. Today, the use of asbestos is regulated, and only certain newer materials contain the material. Older homes, schools and businesses that were constructed before the 1980s may still have asbestos-containing products present in them.

When these older, brittle products are disturbed, they release small, microscopic fibers that are easily inhaled by people in the vicinity of the product. Once inhaled, the fibers enter the lungs and stay embedded in the lung tissue. This leads to a number of serious medical conditions, such as pleural effusions, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

These diseases are often not diagnosed until it is too late, because the symptoms typically take between 10 and 40 years to develop. In addition, most of these diseases cannot be cured. However, obtaining compensation through an asbestos lawsuit may help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with the disease.

Asbestos has been mined since the late 1800s and was heavily utilized due to its strength, fire resistance, and ability to bind together when mixed with other materials. It is now strictly regulated, as exposure to the mineral has been directly linked to mesothelioma and other respiratory diseases. Some countries completely ban the mining and production of asbestos, while others limit it or require that manufacturers take steps to lessen its effects.

Typically, asbestos exposure is the result of breathing in microscopic asbestos fibers. However, the toxic mineral also can enter your body if it is ingested or absorbed through the skin. Inhaled asbestos can cause many diseases including lung cancer, mesothelioma and other respiratory conditions. Asbestos can also injure the lining of your stomach and intestines, causing an inflammation known as asbestosis. Inhaled asbestos may also damage the nerves that connect to the lungs, leading to mesothelioma or pleural effusion.

While chrysotile asbestos has been found to be safe when used in certain products, health professionals believe all types of asbestos are dangerous and pose the same risk. Asbestos is often found in building materials like insulating cement, roofing and paint. It was also used in military equipment, textiles and fireproof construction. Some common uses of loose-fiber asbestos include drywall, ceiling tiles and insulation, vermiculite attic insulation, shingle siding and automotive brake pads and linings.

When asbestos is disturbed, the fibers become airborne and can remain suspended in the air for hours. The amount of time they remain in the air depends on the nature of the material and how friable it is. Friability refers to how easily the material can be crumbled or pulverized with hand pressure. Some types of asbestos materials, such as drywall or textured coatings, are not as friable as asbestos-containing spray-applied insulation or the fibrous or fluffy, spray-applied asbestos materials used in fire proofing and insulating buildings.

Asbestos fibers that are breathed in can enter the lungs and stay there, where they are able to migrate through tissue and the bloodstream to other organs. Some asbestos fibers can even get trapped in the lining of the lungs, leading to an accumulation of scar-like tissue that inhibits breathing and decreases blood flow.

The asbestos in your lungs can also be dragged into other compartments, such as the extracellular fluid and the bloodstream, by bulk flows of water that move down pressure gradients. This is why it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of asbestos disease as soon as you think something might be wrong. Most asbestos-related diseases have a latency period between the initial asbestos exposure and when you begin to feel sick. The latency period for these conditions ranges from 10 to 40 years.

The best way to determine whether asbestos exists in a building is to hire a qualified professional. These professionals can test building materials for asbestos and will know what the best methods for handling, sampling, removing and repairing are. They can also make sure that asbestos-containing material is handled safely and that proper disposal procedures are followed.

It’s important to understand that asbestos only poses a danger when it becomes airborne, which is most likely to happen when older products that contain the mineral become damaged or worn out. This can include attic insulation made with vermiculite, which can easily crumble in the heat of a home’s attic. It’s also possible for asbestos to be present in floor tiles and mastic, as well as a wide range of other construction materials.

Asbestos is most often found in homes built before 1990, as it was used extensively in residential construction, and many of these products still exist today. Asbestos can be found in a variety of areas, including ceilings and drywall, attic insulation, pipes, floor tiles, and fire curtains. In addition, it’s possible that asbestos can be contained in some electrical and plumbing components, such as ducts, furnaces, and water heaters.

While there are certain clues that suggest the presence of asbestos, it is important to always have building materials tested for the substance. This is especially true for older materials, such as those that were used in attics and sprayed on floors, as well as for any materials that have been painted over or otherwise altered.

Generally, it is recommended that people not attempt to perform any home improvements without first checking for asbestos. In addition, it is recommended that people only use home test kits with the help of a professional. Ideally, the professional should be able to patch the area where the sample will be taken so that the fibers do not become airborne.

Those who have worked in the construction industry or with any type of industrial product are more likely to be exposed to asbestos than other people. Some of these occupations include workers who work in shipyards, power plants, and in the military; as well as those involved in the mining, manufacture, and distribution of asbestos, or those who repair or install these products. In addition, anyone who has received professional training in the field of masonry or construction may have been exposed to asbestos.

The most common asbestos exposures occur at work sites. Those at risk of asbestos-related diseases include anyone involved in mining, milling or manufacturing the raw material, as well as those who worked at construction and power plants, shipyards, factories and other industrial jobsites where the material was used to insulate and fireproof buildings and other structures. Additionally, asbestos workers in the military are at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease because of their exposure to the material during World War II.

Even after work, many asbestos-related diseases continue to impact the health of people. This is because the lungs can still pick up and retain microscopic asbestos fibers, leading to lung problems like asbestosis or mesothelioma.

Asbestos exposure is most dangerous when the fibres are inhaled. The tiny particles bypass the lungs’ natural defence mechanisms and become permanently embedded within the delicate lining of the lungs. This leads to scarring and inflammation that can cause a variety of symptoms, from shortness of breath to chest pain and a dry cough.

The lining of the lungs can also become so irritated that it causes fluid to build up in the lungs. This symptom, known as pleural effusion, can lead to serious respiratory conditions including severe breathing difficulties and chest pain.

In addition to workplace exposure, asbestos can also be found in consumer items such as talcum powder, hair dryers and asbestos-containing insulation materials. Some of these products are no longer sold, but many were in use throughout the 20th century.

In addition to people who worked directly with asbestos, people can be exposed to the toxic mineral when it is brought home on contaminated clothing. This is called secondary exposure and occurs when asbestos workers unknowingly bring home the fibres on their clothing, skin or hair. This can be just as dangerous for the family members and friends of the worker. This is because the family members and friends are more likely to breathe in these dangerous particles. Asbestos victims who develop a disease as a result of this type of exposure may have a legal claim for damages.