Asbestos Exposure in the Home

How to reduce asbestos exposure risks in families?

Asbestos-containing materials generally do not cause any harm as long as they are in good condition and are not disturbed. Hence, they can be left alone. You need to do this to find out the right way to test your home and also to find a company that offers safe containment or removal of asbestos fibers.

Can a medical test reveal whether I have faced asbestos exposure?

Asbestos fibers at low levels can be detected in urine, feces, mucus, or lung washings of the general public. When more than average levels of asbestos fibers are found in tissue, it can substantiate exposure, but it may not be indicative of any health effects that you may experience.

A detailed history, physical examination and diagnostic tests are required to assess asbestos-related disease. Chest x-rays have proved the most effective screening tool to detect lung changes caused by asbestos exposure. CAT scans and lung function tests are also helpful in the detection of disease caused by asbestos exposure.

What steps have been taken by the Federal government to protect human health?

The EPA banned all new types of asbestos usage in the year 1989. However, uses that existed prior to this date are still permitted. Specific regulations were established by the EPA, for instance regulations that mandate school systems to check for damaged asbestos and to reduce or eliminate the exposure by safely removing or covering up the asbestos. To avoid asbestos from entering the environment, the EPA regulates the amount of asbestos being released from factories and during demolition or renovation of buildings.

The EPA has proposed a contamination limit of 7 million asbestos fibers for every liter of drinking water in case of long fibers (fibers that are greater than or equal to 5 µm).

As per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the limit for fibers greater than or equal to 5 µm is 100,000 fibers for every cubic meter of workplace air, applicable to shifts of 8 hours and weeks of 40 hours.