Asbestos, a carcinogen that is known to cause mesothelioma and other cancers could be lurking in your home and you may not even know it.
Exposure to asbestos causes severe and life-threatening health problems. When asbestos fibers are disturbed they are released into the air. If these fibers are inhaled they remain in the lungs, causing scarring and inflammation which can lead to severe medical problems. The body has no way of expelling or breaking down asbestos, so inhalation can lead to life-threatening conditions and cancers many years after initial exposure.
Although new commercial uses of asbestos are no longer allowed in the United States, there are several places asbestos may still be found in your home. It is extremely important to make sure your home is asbestos-free to avoid future cancers and other severe illnesses.
Asbestos was once used in more than 3,000 consumer products. As a well-known fire resistant and durable product, asbestos use was heavily regulated in the late 1970s after it was discovered to cause cancer. However, many buildings and products may still contain asbestos. The following are places that asbestos may still be found hiding in your home:
In the 1970s when asbestos was first being regulated, a consumer report showed that many hair dryers manufactured domestically were emitting asbestos fibers. Although at the time there were regulations in place prohibiting the use of asbestos in these devices, several of these manufacturers were outsourcing their production to foreign countries where no such regulations existed. If your hairdryer is old enough to be considered an antique, you should replace it immediately no matter how well it works.
If you’re using a your grandmother’s crock pot, or one that you bought so long ago that you can no longer remember when, you should consider replacing it with a new model. Before the asbestos ban crock pots used asbestos in the lining between the outer and inner pot to retain heat, and also in the power cord to prevent electrical fires. While this asbestos is contained for the most part, if the device becomes damaged or broken in any way the asbestos can become airborne and cause severe health problems if inhaled.
Popcorn poppers are another potential asbestos hiding ground. Popcorn poppers use an electrical element that heats the air and pops the kernels, and some manufacturers were known to use asbestos in this element. Just like crock-pots, asbestos was also used in the power cords as a heat insulator. Many of these devices were manufactured overseas where safety regulations were severely lacking. If you have an older model popcorn popper you should do some research to make sure it is safe to use for food preparation (or buy a new model altogether).
One might not think of baby powder as a place where cancer causing chemicals can hide, but yet that’s the scary truth. Baby powder is mostly made up of talc. Talc is a mineral that is mined around the U.S. and was often found to have trace elements of tremolite asbestos within it. While many American manufacturers have taken safety measures to prevent asbestos in their mined talc, foreign manufacturers tend to have less environmental regulations on asbestos; often allowing contaminated products to be sold to overseas. Always buy a known American brand of baby powder. Steer clear of cheaper versions that may contain asbestos.
Before beginning any DIY project in your home, always do your homework. Make sure to consider the age of your home before pulling down siding, sheetrock or removing popcorn texture from your walls or ceilings. Many older buildings used asbestos in their drywall and as insulation between wall panels. If you do have an older home that hasn’t already been checked for asbestos, always call a professional contractor or asbestos removing company before beginning any remodeling project. It is a good idea to have your home checked for asbestos even if you aren’t planning on remodeling, especially if your home is older than 30 years old. It never hurts to be too safe when it comes to your family’s health.
Asbestos related diseases are no laughing matter and should be avoided at all costs. Be sure to consider the age of your home appliances, as well as where they were manufactured. If you are unsure whether your home itself may contain asbestos, get a consultation from a knowledgeable asbestos removing contractor right away. Following these simple steps will help keep your family safe from all asbestos-related diseases.
Daggett Shuler, Attorneys at Law, principal office is based at 2140 Country Club Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104. The firm handles personal injury claims including serious injuries, automobile accidents, workers’ compensation and social security disability. If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident call Daggett Shuler for a free confidential consultation at 336-724-1234.
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