Throughout the world asbestos features in a variety of industries but is primarily found within the construction trade. Its was regularly used as it is easy to obtain and serves well as an insulator. However the import and use of asbestos has now been regulated by several governing bodies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the European Union. Asbestos has even seen outright bans in the United Kingdom and France owed to the health risks associated with coming into contact with the product.
Experts believe that exposure to asbestos can lead to life-threatening conditions such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. As the number of people being diagnosed with asbestos related illnesses has increased so has the amount of asbestos compensation claims in which people are suing their employers for damages associated with the lifestyle and health changes that they are experiencing.
The area in the world which you live will dictate the potential places and materials in which you may encounter asbestos. For instance living in a poorer region of India will significantly increase the probability of exposure due to asbestos not only still being used on a widespread basis, but the buildings which contain it are often unmaintained or damaged. Studies have shown that even now the local residents know of the dangers, they are unable to move out due to other regions of India being far more expensive. If you live in a developed country such as the USA or the United Kingdom, living in a building that contains asbestos is highly likely, however many of these buildings are regularly maintained and as such any damaged asbestos is repaired or removed.
In the US and UK it is considered rare for someone who has not worked with asbestos to develop and asbestos related illness although it is not unheard of. Increasing the amount of time exposed to hazardous materials is known to also increase the chances that you may developing a debilitating health condition. However this is not entirely true with asbestos as inhaling even 1 fibre can be extremely dangerous especially if it manages to find its way into the lungs.
If you have worked with asbestos please be aware that many of the illnesses have latency periods of around 30 years after exposure. This means that even if you had worked with the material several years ago you could still be at risk and it may be worth a visit to your local G.P explaining your situation to see if there is anything they can do to ensure your safety. Similarly if you find damaged asbestos within you home or a building you should alert you local authorities or a specialist asbestos removal company who will aid in removal. Please note that asbestos products if undamaged are relatively safe but many people opt to remove them it to act as a safeguard in the future.
The peak amount of asbestos related diagnoses, is expected to peak in the year 2020 with over 2500 people expected to develop mesothelioma every single year in the United Kingdom. Activists are now asking for a global ban on asbestos including the mining a distribution process but this is unlikely as nations such as Russia rely on the revenue generated from the product and have even named a town after it.
Overall the chances of being exposed to asbestos in work or at home are very slim. If you are worried follow the steps above to completely eliminate any chance of coming into contact with this dangerous material.