Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals that are most commonly found in old building materials. While asbestos can also be found in some mechanical parts, asbestos’s primary purposes are increasing a material’s resistance to fire and heat, as well as insulation. As such, asbestos is found in sheetrock and other building materials, particularly in antique buildings like those found on college campuses. If a person is exposed to asbestos, it can have serious health repercussions. Read on to learn more about why you should avoid asbestos in general, and especially if you’re at a college with old buildings.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is considered a carcinogen which is made of up six naturally occurring minerals, including chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Because of the durability of asbestos, as well as its super insulation properties, it was primarily used in construction prior to 1978, when the dangers of asbestos were revealed.
What Campus Materials Contain Asbestos?
If you attend a university where the buildings were erected prior to 1978, there’s a good chance that they contain asbestos. On college campuses, asbestos is primarily found in the tiles, shingles, paint, joint compounds, laboratory bench tops, and electrical systems of buildings.
How Can a Person Be Exposed to Asbestos?
If the condition of buildings is good, then your risk of exposure to asbestos is slim. This is because asbestos is only released into the air if the building materials are deteriorating and are disturbed. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you keep your distance from dilapidated building materials, and try not to disturb or damage any materials you suspect might contain asbestos. Very rarely does asbestos contamination occur through touch or ingestion.
If you suspect that a building on your campus may have asbestos, or if you have questions about asbestos on your campus, talk to a campus representative immediately. Additionally, keep your distance from any questionable materials, and encourage others to do the same.
What are the Risks of Asbestos?
Exposure to asbestos can have serious health consequences. As stated before, asbestos is considered a carcinogen and can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Mesothelioma cases are becoming more and more common, and include symptoms of pain under the rib cage, trouble breathing, weight loss, and pain or lumps in the stomach. In some cases, mesothelioma can result in death.
Asbestos fibers are inhaled through the lungs of a person when asbestos fibers are disturbed and released into the air. In most cases, the health consequences of asbestos are not experienced until many years after the exposure.
Treatment options for asbestos-related diseases differ depending upon the type and severity of the asbestos-related disease. In most cases, treatment will include one or more of the following: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and think that you may have an asbestos-related disease, don’t hesitate to explore mesothelioma treatment and medical care options immediately.
Happily, as the dangers of asbestos become more widely known, most universities are taking steps to remove or control asbestos on their campuses. In fact, your campus may already have an asbestos control policy in place.
This article was contributed on behalf of Shrader & Associates, National Trial Attorneys. Click here and see how they can help you if you’ve contracted any asbestos-related illness!