Urban exploration (UE) is the exploration of abandoned buildings and other man-made ruins. In recent years, it’s gotten so big that states have created organizations to help people find new places to explore, as well as warn them of one of the biggest dangers of UE: asbestos.
According to the Ohio Exploration Society, although there are numerous things that pose danger to those interested in UE, asbestos remains the most dangerous. Per the founder of the Ohio Exploration Society, Jason Robinson, asbestos is one of the few things that can’t be seen or smelled when exploring, and explorers unknowingly ingest the fibers, especially those aren’t aware of the dangers and fail to protect themselves.
“Asbestos is absolutely the number one danger for urban explorers, and is often overlooked. Since asbestos fibers in the air cannot be seen with the naked eye, some urban explorers do not take proper precautions to protect themselves. The fibers are out of sight, out of mind.”
Fortunately, there are numerous things people can do to try to protect themselves when exploring. First, it’s important to understand that although asbestos isn’t used in buildings like it once was, the chances of older, abandoned buildings containing the harmful mineral is extremely high. Prior to the late 1970s and early 1980s, asbestos was excessively used in numerous buildings, parts, equipment, machinery, and more for its affordability, ease of use, and resistance to heat and fire. In turn, it’s not common for asbestos presence in:
- Roofing and siding shingles
- Cements and caulks
- Older appliances
Asbestos fibers can easily become airborne and permeate throughout the vicinity. Most people aren’t aware they’ve developed an asbestos-related illnesses until decades later, as the dormancy period for these types of diseases can last up to 50 years.
When you’re exploring, you should always assume an abandoned building or structure contains asbestos. Try your best not to disturb anything while exploring, which means that any drilling, hammering, cutting, and/or sawing of any area should be strictly off-limits. You should also refrain from running around or horseplaying in older buildings.
In addition, consider investing in a half face, dual cartridge respirator and use it all times when you’re exploring. Keep in mind that a regular, paper dust mask is not effective against tiny, odorless asbestos fibers.
Asbestos fibers can also transmit onto family and friends. Since these fibers are so tiny, they can easily embed in your hair, skin, and clothing. Consider wearing protective coveralls and boots while exploring, and be sure to clean or dispose of them properly before returning to your family home. If possible, it’s a good idea to wash thoroughly before returning home to minimize the risk of bringing asbestos fibers into your home.
Additional Help 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. For additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-694-4856.