On a day-to-day basis, the risk of coming into contact with asbestos may not even register on a person’s radar. Realistically speaking, many people will never have to worry about asbestos or the devastating consequences of toxic exposure. However, there are plenty of people who do worry about asbestos because of where they live or work.
Whether you think about the risks or not, you should understand the fact that asbestos continues to be found in products and places people use or come into contact with on a regular basis. Knowing where you may come into contact with these products may be an effective way to keep yourself safe.
The two most common places people are exposed to asbestos are at their job or in their home.
If you work or worked in occupations like construction, plumbing, manufacturing, transportation or served in the military, your risk of exposure can be much higher than a person who works in a place like an office building. This is because thousands of commercial and industrial products contain asbestos.
Your home can also put you at risk for exposure to asbestos. Asbestos-containing products were widely used in homes up until about the 1970s, so depending on when your house was built, it may contain asbestos in floor tiles, plumbing and/or insulation. If these materials are disturbed or start to crumble, the asbestos fibers are released into the air where they can easily be breathed in.
In some cases, exposure happens when these two environments collide. The family of someone who works at a plant can be exposed to asbestos once the worker comes home and tracks in the fibers on his or her clothes, body or shoes. Even though there may be no direct threat of exposure in a home, it may turn into a dangerous environment when asbestos is brought in from the outside.
Although there are now strict regulations in place to minimize or avoid the risks of exposure, this wasn’t always the case. Asbestos was used in a wide range of environments that still exist today. Hopefully, understanding where these materials are often found will help people make safer decisions when they find themselves in a place where asbestos may be present.