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Is There Asbestos In Your Structure?

 Is There Asbestos In Your Structure?Sometimes, it can take time for one branch of science to catch up with another branch of science, and when those two branches catch up, there may be some disagreement. This happened with a substance that is now banned for use in construction in the United States, known as asbestos. The name of this material may sound very familiar to you, as it was once commonly used. But there are good reasons why it was once a favored building material, and there are equally good reasons why it was ultimately banned.


An Architectural Bonus


Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of fibrous minerals that can be shaped weaved into other materials for use in construction. It has three primary properties that, for years, made it a material of choice in American building. The first was its flexibility; it was easy to integrate into other building materials, and its fibrous nature meant it could be shaped to whatever tasks were required.

It was also extremely flame resistant, which made it an excellent material to integrate into buildings in order to help maintain structural integrity, especially against fires. Where a fire might cause a wooden building to collapse as parts of its structure simply burned up, a building with insulation lined with asbestos, for example, would retain structural integrity.

Last, but not least, asbestos is also resistant to conducting electricity, which made it an excellent material to line electrical wiring with. Unlike wood, where an exposed wire’s spark might cause a fire, a short circuit in a wire surrounded by asbestos would not cause a fire. For these reasons, asbestos seemed like an excellent building material that met many needs for building safety in one convenient, easy-to-use substance.


The Medical Danger


Unfortunately, for all the great uses that engineering and technology figured out for deploying asbestos into buildings, it was eventually found that there was a downside after all. A very serious one. Asbestos, after enough medical research data had been gathered over the years, was verified to be extremely carcinogenic. That is to say, it had an extremely high likelihood of causing cancer in people exposed to it.

Asbestos in particular is especially “virulent” when it comes to lung related cancers. The reason for this is the particular shape of molecules in asbestos can easily latch onto certain substances within the lung. The condition known as mesothelioma, for example, is an illness where the thin membrane that lines the inside of the lung and other organs, develops cancer. Asbestos is the only medically confirmed way this disease has been contracted so far. However, more conventional lung cancer and other conditions like asbestosis, where the lung lining gets infected, are also associated with asbestos inhalation.


Homes & Workplaces


Many older buildings throughout the USA and Florida have, unfortunately, been built with asbestos inside them. Older 20th century homes are just as likely to have asbestos as older office buildings and warehouses. The substance was banned from use in American construction in the 1980s, however, that did not mean existing buildings with asbestos were necessarily cataloged or torn down.

This means that landlords or homeowners renovating an older home can inadvertently subject their renovators to asbestos if they do not check for it first. Conversely people at the workplace, such as electricians, iron workers and even machinists are also at risk, if an older building has not been properly inspected and cleared.

If you think there may be issues with asbestos that you have been unlawfully exposed to, you may have a personal injury case, perhaps you might even need to seek compensation for a workplace injury from a workers comp lawyer.