Friable materials carry greater asbestos risks

Have you ever seen a slab of drywall that has gotten wet, then dried again? You may have noticed that it became easy to crumble after water damage. This condition is known as friability. Drywall that is in an undisturbed state is typically considered a non-friable material. Regarding asbestos, non-friable is usually safer than friable.

However, getting wet and drying out can make drywall or other non-friable materials become friable, or, easy to crumble. The more friable a material is, the greater risk of danger there is regarding possible exposure to asbestos. Many North Carolina homes, schools and other buildings contain asbestos, which can easily enter the atmosphere through friable materials.

The older a home or building, the likelier it contains friable materials

Perhaps you work in an old building, such as a school. You might also be the type of person who loves the style and architecture of an older home. If the home you live in or building you work in was constructed before 1978, chances are it contains asbestos.

Older buildings often have popcorn ceilings, vermiculite attic insulation and other friable materials. If you plan to renovate a room containing such materials, it’s always best to have a licensed professional remove them from the premises to reduce your risk of being exposed to asbestos, which can cause severe injury, such as a terminal illness known as mesothelioma.

Most building materials nowadays are non-friable, which doesn’t mean risk-free

Modern construction typically involves non-friable materials, such as vinyl flooring, cement pipes and corrugated sheeting. While such materials normally carry a lower risk for asbestos danger, it’s still possible for you to become exposed, especially if the materials in question get damaged and become friable.

Suspected exposure should prompt close monitoring of health

If you or someone in your family exhibits symptoms that suggest possible asbestos injury, it’s best to seek immediate medical examination. An asbestos-induced illness may be present in your body long before symptoms arise. It often takes years before a person starts to cough or experience discomfort.

It’s important that you tell your doctor that you worked, lived in or were present in a location that may have contained asbestos. A doctor will know what types of tests to perform to rule out mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness. Many people have joined class action lawsuits after suffering asbestos injuries that would likely not have occurred if their employers or landlords had informed them of a known asbestos problem.