Asbestos is a mineral fiber has been used as a construction material and as a fire-retardant. Asbestos is normally present in our environment, in the ambient air at low levels, but such a small amount of this mineral fiber is not sufficient to cause health problems in humans. However, inhalation of large amounts of asbestos fiber can cause malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that forms on the protective layer of the body’s internal organs. Scientists believe that it is usually being caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory and fibrotic medical condition characterized by scarring of the lungs caused by inhalation and retention of asbestos.
Popcorn ceiling asbestos
Asbestos is often found in cement products, textured coatings, floor tiles, textiles and composites, as well as on sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls and columns. Asbestos is therefore, commonly found on popcorn ceilings. This material was extensively used from the mid 20th century to the mid 1980’s. In general, any kind of building built in the last century can contain asbestos. The real danger of this material happens when the surface containing asbestos is damaged. If the material is solid and in good condition the environment is considered safe for humans.
However, if the material is damaged (during the reconstruction or renovation of home, for example) the asbestos fibers become airborne and people may inhale them. For this reason, it is very important to follow asbestos safety procedures to prevent contamination whenever you’re considering removing your popcorn ceiling. The texture is most probably saturated with dangerous asbestos. Even though the manufacturing of popcorn ceiling asbestos texture was banned in 1978, it is still legal to install it. The only way to make sure your ceiling is free from asbestos is to test it in a lab.
Signs and symptoms of asbestos exposure
Signs and symptoms of asbestos exposure are not immediately visible. In many cases, first symptoms of the disease will become noticeable several decades after the initial exposure. In generally, the first symptom of the disease will be shortness of breath that typically occurs on exertion. If the condition is severely advanced it may even lead to respiratory failure. Reduction in lung function because of the scarring of the lungs and reduced TLC, may bring on right-sided heart failure.
Construction workers are at the highest risk of asbestos exposure, especially if they are smokers. Even as asbestos cancers are rare, about 3,000 people are diagnosed in the U.S. every year.