At Moms Across America we are committed to raise awareness about the toxic burden on our children and families that contributes to their skyrocketing health issues. Toxins can come from many sources. One is the home.
Many may not be aware that they can do something about reducing those toxins. Here is a guest blog about asbestos that we hope will make a difference for you and your family.
Summer is here and with that comes a never-ending stream household projects. Whether it’s cleaning out the garage, landscaping the backyard or renovating the house, we always try to make sure we’re doing our home improvement projects as safely as possible. But while most of us can do small jobs around the house, major renovations are best left to professionals, especially if your home contains asbestos.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once used in everything from vinyl tiles and ceiling panels, to pipe insulation, siding and even shingles. Known for its high heat resistance and durability, the mineral saw wide usage despite health concerns caused by asbestos exposure, including diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma, a rare cancer that can affect the lining of organs, including the lungs, heart and abdomen. Asbestos has been highly regulated since the late 1970s, but is still legal in the U.S. and still used in newly-manufactured products, though in very small amounts.
Although there is no surefire way to identify asbestos, if a home was built prior to 1980 and hasn’t been renovated, chances are good asbestos is lurking somewhere. The EPA recommends hiring a licensed asbestos abatement professional to perform tests if you suspect your home contains asbestos-containing materials. They should be able to determine whether or not asbestos is present and what actions need to be taken. If asbestos-containing materials are left alone and in good shape, they’re generally considered safe. It’s once the products begin to deteriorate and crumble, allowing the tiny and rigid fibers to enter the air, that asbestos is considered dangerous. Remember, there is NO SAFE LEVEL of asbestos exposure!
While mesothelioma and asbestosis are often considered diseases impacting older adults due to their long latency periods of 10-50 years, children can easily be exposed to asbestos dust created when those products are accidentally disturbed or broken. If you suspect that asbestos is in your home, make sure to have a licensed abatement specialist come in to remove or encapsulate any materials that could contain asbestos.
Though asbestos is often closely tied to building materials and other manufactured items, the dangerous carcinogen has also been discovered closer to items children might use everyday. On several occasions, asbestos was found in toys, including crayons and children’s fingerprint kits. The toys in question were sold at Party City and Dollar Tree, along with Toys-R-Us and Buy-Rite, and were voluntarily removed from stores. Those stores also asked their suppliers to remanufacture the toys with safer materials.
For the most part, treat asbestos as you would lead in your home. Don’t let children play with or near broken or damaged materials that could potentially release fibers, including near pipes, stoves or furnaces where asbestos-containing materials were commonly used. During renovations, make sure children stay in areas where exposure to dust created during the demolition process won’t get to them and make sure all renovation work is done by licensed professionals and asbestos abatement specialists.
Asbestos may have been common in homes 50 years ago, but today is a different story. The mineral is currently being evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to determine its risk to humans. If the EPA believes it’s too dangerous, a plan can finally be put into place to ban the substance in the U.S. for good. Until then, you can make your voice heard by joining the cause and signing this petition to stop asbestos.
For more information go to www.mesothelioma.com.
Zen and MAA Team