Although most people today understand that asbestos is a dangerous mineral, there are still some misconceptions about just how dangerous it is and how easy it is to unknowingly come into contact with it.
I’ll avoid asbestos because I know what it looks like
Many pictures online (and older movies) portray asbestos as a white, snow-like substance, that crumbles easily. While asbestos does look like this in some instances, there are many different forms, including brown, blue and green, aren’t easily to identify. Additionally, it’s almost impossible to detect asbestos that’s been mixed into equipment, building, and structures. Asbestos fibers are tiny, odorless, and undetectable to the human eye. People can unknowingly ingest these fibers without ever knowing they are even around asbestos.
It’s OK if I am around safe levels of asbestos
This is one of the biggest misconceptions because United States laws currently have “safe” levels of asbestos that can be used in products. However, there are no truly safe levels of asbestos. Those who work around the legal amount of asbestos generally always wear face masks and other safety geared as outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Although the risks are not as high as being exposed daily and for prolonged periods, breathing in asbestos fibers just once can lead to life-threatening illnesses. Never enter abandoned buildings unless you’re sure they weren’t built with asbestos, and never start home renovations if you live in a house built before the early 1980s unless you’ve had it thoroughly inspected for asbestos beforehand by a professional. In addition, never attempt to repair old appliances that may have been built with asbestos-containing products.
Asbestos is banned in the U.S., so I shouldn’t have to worry
As mentioned earlier, asbestos remains legal in the U.S. as long as manufacturers keep the amount at so-called safe levels. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is constantly fighting to get asbestos completely banned in the U.S., but efforts so far have been unsuccessful.
I’m a female, so my chances of developing an asbestos illness are slim
While it’s true that more men develop asbestos-related diseases compared women, this doesn’t mean that women have a slimmer chance of developing an asbestos-related disease if they are exposed to asbestos. In the past, more men worked at occupations that used asbestos, resulting in a much higher rate of males developing asbestos illnesses. Yet, women can just as easily develop illnesses through work, second-hand asbestos exposure, and any other way that men can develop diseases.
Children can’t develop asbestos diseases
Children are just as much at risk as anyone else of developing an asbestos disease if they are exposed to asbestos. It’s important to take measures to protect your child, such as never allowing them to play in abandoned buildings, around old furnaces, or in the attics of older homes (until you know for sure that the home is asbestos-free). Some studies suggest that children may be at a heightened risk of developing asbestos due to their faster breathing patterns.
Assistance and Resources for Asbestos Victims
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other illness related to asbestos, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area. If you have questions or need additional assistance, contact us at 800-694-4856.