As we’ve covered here at Indoor Air Quality Ottawa in previous articles, asbestos is a mean material in more ways than one. It introduces a bevy of unwanted health and wellness risks and, depending on the type used, some can even be fatal. Yet still, some folks are attempting to remove the long-since-banned substance with limited experience and no professional gear or training.
If you know there’s asbestos in your home or business and are considering the DIY approach, stop what you’re doing and consider these four major risks.
If you’ve never heard of mesothelioma, you’re not alone. In short, it’s a form of cancer that targets the chest, lungs, and/or abdomen. Symptoms may take upwards of several decades to make themselves known, though most cases stem from asbestos exposure as the direct cause. Such symptoms may include breathing difficulties, pain in the ribs, a consistent cough, fatigue, and even constipation.
Once asbestos fibres penetrate the lungs, delivering considerable damage to them, there’s no way to repair it. This is a condition known as asbestosis, and it has symptoms similar to that of mesothelioma. Again, you might not display symptoms until many years after regular exposure, though the worst cases of asbestosis might require oxygen or even lung transplants. This condition may also turn into lung cancer in more serious instances.
Reduced Immune System Functionality
The human body’s immune system acts as the last line of defence against viral pathogens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other particulates. Asbestos, however, it has no protection against; once you inhale fibres – or worse, if you do so regularly – your immune system begins to suffer in terms of efficiency. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) notes that, in individuals who develop asbestosis as a result, their immune system functionality further declines, but those who don’t develop the condition won’t experience this to such a degree.
Another risk noted by the CCOHS, prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres can drastically increase your chances of developing laryngitis. This is an inflammation of your larynx, otherwise known as your voice box, and it’s normally caused by overuse (such as frequent yelling), infection, or irritation.
The four risks we covered can be essentially avoided by not attempting a DIY asbestos removal. Don’t gamble with your health or safety. Instead, call in a professional air quality inspector who can recommend a trustworthy remediation contractor. Contact us today at Indoor Air Quality Ottawa for further assistance.