Asbestos Exposure: How To Keep Your Family Safe
It’s our duty and purpose as parents to do whatever it takes to keep our family safe. When it comes to toxin exposure in your home you can never be too cautious, especially with asbestos. Although it can be difficult to know if your family is at risk of asbestos exposure without knowing what to look for, there is no need to worry. Educating yourself on where to find asbestos in your home will go a long way for the safety and health of your family. In order to better understand where to find asbestos, it’s important to know what it even is.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral that was very commonly used in building materials before the 1980s, due to its heat and chemical resistance. There are six types of asbestos, with the most commonly used one being chrysotile asbestos. All six types are naturally occurring minerals and are made up of microscopic fibers. It is important to note that ALL types of asbestos are dangerous and exposure to ANY of them can cause serious health problems such as cancer, specifically mesothelioma.
How Can Mesothelioma Affect My Family?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by direct or secondhand exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma primarily impacts the lungs, but just like with asbestos, there are different types of mesothelioma that can impact other internal organs such as your heart and stomach. This cancer takes a long time to present itself. Symptoms typically will not occur until at least ten years after your initial exposure. . Symptoms to be aware of include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Coughing and/or wheezing
- Chest pain
Although asbestos exposure may not have any immediate impact on your family, children and teens can still be impacted in the future by the health issues associated with asbestos. Being aware of this type of cancer and its causes is a great step in the right direction. Now that you are aware of this issue, you can take the proper steps and precautions to mitigate your family’s chances of coming across asbestos in the home.
Can I Identify Asbestos in My Home?
So how do you find out if there’s asbestos in your home? Well, to start, there is NO safe way to search for asbestos on your own. If you think your house may contain asbestos, the safest thing to do is to get your home inspected by an asbestos professional in the D.C. area.
Asbestos exposure occurs when the particles are disturbed. So, even if your home does contain asbestos, it might not be a cause for concern if the materials are in good condition or encapsulated. Preventing your children from playing with housing materials is key to limiting the chance of exposure in your home. If you find asbestos in the home that isn’t an immediate issue, you can take precautions including:
- Closing off the attic from your children so they don’t play with insulation.
- Making sure your children aren’t interacting with any deteriorating roofing or siding.
- Not letting your children scrape up vinyl tiles.
- Keeping children away from any active home improvement projects.
These precautions are necessary because the asbestos particles in building materials could become airborne when disturbed, and your children could inhale or ingest them. Keeping your children from playing with housing materials is a great first step to staying safe from asbestos, but that is not the only way your family can be exposed in your home. It has also been discovered in certain consumer products.
What Consumer Products May Contain Asbestos?
As well as being in the materials your home is made of, you need to be aware of the materials that are used in everyday products. One daily product that’s been found to contain asbestos is makeup, especially if it is talc-based.
Talc is used in many different cosmetic products, and the reason why asbestos can be found in these products is because talc naturally forms near asbestos. So mining for talc raises the chance of also mining asbestos. The different types of makeup that could potentially be a danger include blush, eyeshadow and face powders. Most recently, talc made national news due to Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder containing dangerous amounts of talc. The company is halting all use of talc by 2023, but other cosmetic brands will still be using it in their products. Using these talc-based makeups can lead to ingesting or inhaling the dangerous asbestos fibers related to talc powder.
Cosmetics aren’t the only products though that could hold health risks to your family. Your children’s toys also need to be checked for asbestos. With back-to-school shopping here, you need to be aware of the school supplies that contain asbestos. Different crayon manufacturers have been culprits in using asbestos in their products. If you have any younger children going back to school, be sure to know what exactly is in their back-to-school products. Besides crayons, be sure to research each item you purchase for your child while getting ready for the school year. It’s nerve-wracking to know that there could potentially be asbestos in products your children use, but there are ways to increase the safety of your kids while using them including:
- Checking for recalls on makeup in your home and your children’s toys.
- Supervising small children while playing with these products, due to the tendency to put toys in their mouths.
- Keeping your makeup away from small children who would use the products incorrectly.
You’re On Your Way to a Safe Home!
Hopefully you feel more at ease knowing that there are ways to keep your family safe from asbestos exposure. Always remember that if you ever are concerned about the possibility of asbestos being in your home, get in contact with a professional who can help. Addressing any worries you have will help keep your family safe. Different toxins can be found in other products, so be sure to educate yourself on other possible toxin dangers as well. The more you know about toxin exposure, the more you can do to prevent exposure from your family!