What is asbestos? It is in the clothes you wear, in the paint on your walls, in the floor tiles in your kitchen, in the insulation throughout your home, in the cigarettes you smoke, in the pieces that make up your car, inside the mattress you sleep on, and in so many more products you use everyday. This naturally occurring toxic mineral fiber is found within rocks and soil. These long thin crystal fibers are so tiny that they are not even visible to the naked eye and have to be viewed with an asbestos microscope. In total, there are six types of asbestos fibers, according to Environmental Protection Agency. These include, chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite. The most commonly used in the US is chrysotile because of its long and curly texture it may withstand heat more efficiently than all the others.
So if asbestos is so toxic, then why do we use it? Great question. A few decades ago the fiber was founded as a super awesome mineral that has super strength, flexibility and resistance to heat, flames, electricity, and chemicals. Sounds like the superman version of minerals, right? The only downside is that when the fibers are damaged or deteriorate, they float as little particles through the air where anyone could breathe in or swallow them. When swallowed or inhaled, a build-up of the fibers occur and will cause inflammation and scarring in the lung tissue. This slow process can eventually lead into more lifelong threatening conditions like mesothelioma and lung cancer.
How do I know if I am being exposed to asbestos? Well in California, out of the 58 counties, 45 of them are already naturally occurring asbestos deposits. More importantly, how do I know if I have direct exposure inside my home? You could get an air sample done from an environmental lab or you could do an at home asbestos air test kit. You may also want to take a look at the materials used to make up your house. Are the vinyl tiles broken? Drywall deteriorating? Those are signs that there is a possibility of direct exposure of asbestos. When these products are tampered or broken due to remodeling or deterioration it creates leeway for the fibers to drift into the air. Your next step would be to have the asbestos removed, air cleared, and new materials in place of the previous ones to make sure all asbestos is sealed and completely out of you and your family’s breathing area.