Construction in Your Unit: What You Should Know About Asbestos

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Asbestos is a word you may or may not have heard of before, but it is quite commonly used in the construction industry. Asbestos is a mineral that naturally occurs in the environment. It is used in many types of products because of its properties, which include being stronger than steel, resistant to heat and electricity, and non-flammable.

That being said, exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma - a type of cancer. Despite asbestos being a known carcinogen, as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is still not banned in approximately 70% of the planet. In fact, the WHO reports that more than 100,00 people die worldwide every year due to asbestos-related diseases.

How Asbestos Can Affect Your Health

From the beginning of the 20th Century, asbestos was commonly used in a variety of building materials. The danger of asbestos was made public in the 1970s — that it is a highly toxic substance that can cause lung cancer, lung scarring, and mesothelioma cancer if fibers are inhaled.

Although asbestos is no longer used in building materials in the United States, many of the nation’s older structures still contain the toxic substance. Most commonly, asbestos is found in ceiling insulation. However, the toxic substance may also be found in stove or pipe insulation, drywall joint patching compounds, furnaces and duct work, floor tiles, and roofing materials. Therefore, if your California home or unit is undergoing construction, there may be asbestos present in the residence.

Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to detect asbestos fibers with a general, visual inspection of a property. Indeed, California asbestos regulation law mandates that only licensed professionals with specialized equipment can detect and report a presence of asbestos within the property. Once asbestos is detected, these professionals will send a sample to a laboratory for further testing, which will include determining the type and concentration of asbestos and whether or not the building is a threat to public health.

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