Asbestos sounds like a dangerous material, and it most certainly is. Yet, it is not just the danger that makes asbestos so interesting; it is also its versatility and widespread use throughout history. If you are curious about where this substance is located, there are many different places where you can find asbestos.
Although people are now more aware of the risks of asbestos exposure and have taken steps to control it at places where this substance is most likely to be found, some people still unknowingly get exposed to it. Whether you live in a city or suburb, asbestos could be lurking right in your backyard. This article will look at five unknown places you can get exposed to asbestos.
Table of Contents
1. Toilet Seats
Asbestos can be found on toilet seats because the mineral talc is sometimes added to the paint on toilet seats to make them slippery. When you sit down on a toilet seat covered with talc, it releases asbestos fibers into the air that you breathe if you do not wipe it off with a wet cloth or wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom. This can cause mesothelioma, a deadly form of lung cancer, which affects the lining of your lungs and abdomen. It can also cause asbestosis, a chronic respiratory disease.
If you are concerned of asbestos exposure from toilet seats, either use a bidet or wipe off the seat before sitting down. In fact, there are now many helpful resources for patients suffering from mesothelioma or those who are exposed to asbestos.
2. Construction Sites
Due to its widespread use, traces of asbestos was often left behind at construction sites after an old building was torn down or remodeled. Asbestos-containing material may still be found in crumbling buildings or other areas where maintenance work is being done.
The presence of asbestos-containing material is not always evident because one of its uses in the past was as an insulating material bonded into walls and floors during construction, which means that it can be easily overlooked in a building’s interior where it may be covered over with paint or other materials. The presence of asbestos at construction sites should not be taken lightly. The workers on-site need to know what they are dealing with and how to handle asbestos to work safely. If you are working on a construction site that you suspect contains asbestos, you should take steps to protect yourself from exposure because of the severe health risks associated with it. If you are not sure whether a substance is asbestos, do not touch it and wait for assistance from someone who can safely identify and remove the material. If you come into contact with asbestos while on-site, wash your hands thoroughly before eating or drinking anything and wear a protective mask that fits properly to reduce the amount of dust you inhale. Workers who suspect they have been exposed to asbestos should report their exposure to their employer and their state’s occupational safety and health agency.
3. Ceilings and Wallboards
Asbestos was often used in ceilings and wallboards in the past, and its danger is still very real. Asbestos can be found in Artex ceilings, even those which have been painted over, as well as many other ceiling products. Therefore, it is essential to use a licensed company for asbestos removal and not disturb the asbestos material yourself.
4. Ironing Board Pads
Tests performed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have shown that asbestos fibers are present on or in many types of ironing board pads. These pads are often made with vermiculite, which contains small amounts of asbestos. The asbestos fibers may be released when the pads are heated during use.
Asbestos-containing ironing board pads should not be discarded in landfills where they can contaminate groundwater supplies. So, if you own an old ironing board with asbestos-containing pads, do not discard it with household trash; instead, dispose of the pad at a hazardous waste disposal site.
It is important to note that most new ironing boards do not contain asbestos because of the widespread use of non-asbestos-containing vermiculite. However, a small number of ironing board manufacturers continue to use vermiculite for their product pads, so check with your manufacturer before purchasing any new ironing boards or pads.
5. Kitchen Cloths
The asbestos in kitchen cloths controversy has been running for many years now, with increasing calls for the ban of these products containing potentially toxic material. Despite this, retailers still sell them, and many people have them in their homes – which is a worrying thought.
Towels made from asbestos can be found in most kitchens all over the country, with many people unaware that they are handling a dangerous product every day. The truth is that you should always avoid handling these items if at all possible, but if you find you need to clean up after cooking, then you should take some time to clean them by washing them several times in hot water with detergent and bleach. This will help get rid of any loose asbestos fibres and reduce the risk of inhaling them when using these cloths.
For the most part, though, asbestos is a much more commonplace material, and while you cannot find it everywhere, you might still be surprised at the places where it lurks. If you are concerned about possible asbestos in your home or workplace, it is wise to use caution. Try to limit exposure to asbestos if at all possible by confining your activities to areas that have been deemed safe.
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