Asbestos is a carcinogen that causes lung cancer and mesothelioma and is extremely hazardous to workers handling it and to others in the area when it gets into the air and is inhaled.
Although asbestos use essentially ended by 1980, there are many older homes that still contain asbestos insulation, flooring, ceiling tiles, shingles, siding, and other items. Hence, when renovation or demolition projects take place in the home, these items must be handled with care. Homeowners who perform do-it-yourself projects should NEVER remove or manipulate asbestos products on their own. A licensed asbestos abatement professional should always be hired to do this work. These professionals not only know how to and when to remove asbestos (or when to simply encapsulate it), they have the ability to properly dispose of the material as well.
The handling of asbestos must be done with great care due to the toxic properties of this substance and its classification as a known carcinogen. It’s important to know that when asbestos is in good condition, it does not usually present a hazard. However, worn or damaged asbestos poses a great risk to the health and safety of humans as fibers may flake off and become airborne. At that point, it’s possible for anyone in the vicinity to inhale these toxic fibers, which in turn, can become embedded in the chest. Years later, victims of asbestos exposure can develop serious asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma.