One of the most common myths about asbestos is that it’s no longer used. Asbestos was once widely used in the United States for many years because of its heat and fire resistance. It was used in construction and building materials, such as drywall, paint, flooring, tiling and wallpaper. Its use was banned in the early 1900s when the dangers of its exposure were learned.
It’s not as widely used as it once was, but asbestos is still used in some construction materials. Many older homes still have asbestos. This and other myths endanger people. Here are four more myths to know about asbestos:
Myth 1: It’s safe to handle asbestos when wearing a mask
Truth: While a mask can help protect people from asbestos exposure, it’s often important to leave the job to people who are highly trained to handle asbestos. The improper disposal of asbestos can cause particles to remain in the air and can put family and friends in danger of exposure.
Myth 2: Asbestos is not as dangerous as doctors say
Truth: Asbestos is extremely dangerous. Asbestos fibers can enter the lungs and tear the inner lining. Over time, asbestos in the lungs and the damaged inner lining can cause cancer and mesothelioma. This myth may propagate because people exposed to asbestos often don’t see the negative effects, such as shortness of breath and chest pains until later in life.
Myth#3: Asbestos exposure only affects people who work directly with it
Truth: People who aren’t directly in contact with asbestos are still at risk of secondhand exposure. First, asbestos fibers can linger in the air, which could then be inhaled. Second, asbestos fibers in the air can contaminate workers’ clothing. If the clothing isn’t cleaned, the workers’ family and friends could unknowingly breathe in the asbestos fibers.
Asbestos is a serious issue and it may be for many years. Victims may need to learn how asbestos exposure can affect their lives and take legal action.