Asbestos is an umbrella term that describes a variety of naturally-occurring silicates. It was commonly used as a building material up until the early 1990s because of its high reinforcing, fire-resistant, and insulating properties. If left intact, asbestos is safe, but it can be harmful if damaged or exposed during asbestos removal in Auckland. The most common form of asbestos found in New Zealand homes is chrysotile asbestos, which can pose a significant health hazard if inhaled. Below, householders can learn about the health risks of asbestos.
Health Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
The health risks of asbestos depend on a variety of factors, such as the size and number of fibres in the air, the length of exposure, and the frequency of exposure. Users are more likely to experience asbestos-related health issues with exposure to higher concentrations of the mineral or with frequent, long-term exposure. Disease generally occurs in workers who have endured heavy exposure over an extended period, such as those who manufacture asbestos-containing building materials.
The Basics of Exposure to Asbestos
The main method of asbestos exposure is through aspiration, where asbestos fibres enter the lungs. Most fibres are removed from the lungs through the body’s natural defences, but fibre levels can build over time. If asbestos is swallowed, nearly all fibres are excreted through natural digestive function. However, some evidence suggests that lengthy exposure can increase the risk of tumours in the gastrointestinal system and that short-term, high-level ingestion can lead to a precancerous condition of the bowel. While asbestos fibres may penetrate the skin, they do not seem to pass through the skin into the bloodstream.
Asbestos in the Home
The risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease is very low short term ,risk is directly linked to the number of fibres and the length of the exposure. If adequately contained within the material in which it came, asbestos poses a negligible risk. For this reason, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health advises householders not to perform maintenance on asbestos-containing materials.
Those worried about the presence of asbestos in the home should talk to a provider of asbestos removal in Tauranga. You can arrange to have us test the home for asbestos fibres and also learn how to mitigate the risk of exposure. For help with asbestos testing in Auckland or to learn about asbestos removal cost, visit us at Asbestos Solutions at www.nzasbestos.co.nz as soon as possible.