Depending on what kind of job you work, you might encounter some unhealthy materials. One of the more-dangerous of these materials is asbestos. While not as common as it was, it’s still important to make sure you know how to handle it safely…
Asbestos: Work With It Safely
What is it?
Asbestos is the name of a few naturally occurring minerals. However, it looks more similar to fibers than anything else. These minerals are incredibly heat- and fire-resistant, which is what lead to manufactures using in a wide variety of areas. For instance, some common areas included home fireproofing and insulation for car brakes.
However, in the 1970’s, researchers discovered that the material was linked to cancers. This lead to many nations cracking down on their usage. For example, the EPA banned spray-on versions in 1973. Now, it remains very limited and regulated in usage, with only a few select fields making use of it.
Asbestos is very dangerous to one’s health. The main risks come in the way of the microfibers the material gives off from. These fibers are very sharp and very small, and can cause harm when they touch the skin or eyes. They’re especially dangerous when someone breaths them in, or ingests them accidentally.
Breathing in asbestos particles causes a lot of micro-cuts in the lungs over time. This leads to a build-up of scar tissue, and makes it harder to breathe. Plus, the fibers themselves can also lead to lung cancer. Other lung diseases, like mesothelioma, have also been linked to these particles.
Staying safe when working with asbestos is very straightforward. Mainly, it comes down to protecting your body from those loose fibers. Therefore, it’s a good idea to wear breathing masks and goggles when handling the material. You’ll also want to wear clothes which fully cover the body, and don’t forget to bring a different pair for when you’re done!
However, you might accidentally run into asbestos when you don’t expect it. This is common in fields like construction, where many old houses might still have some in them. In these cases, it’s important to clear out of the area quickly. Then, report it to your boss or supervisor, and don’t return to the area until you’re protected. Furthermore, follow the necessary protocols in disposing of it depending on your state.