Sources of Indoor Air Pollution — Asbestos
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Asbestos and Asbestos Health Effects
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been
used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for
insulation and as a fire-retardant. EPA and CPSC have banned several
asbestos products. Manufacturers have also voluntarily limited uses of
asbestos. Today, asbestos is most commonly found in older homes, in pipe
and furnace insulation materials, asbestos shingles, millboard, textured
paints and other coating materials, and floor tiles.
Elevated concentrations of airborne
asbestos can occur after asbestos-containing materials are disturbed by
cutting, sanding or other remodeling activities. Improper attempts to
remove these materials can release asbestos fibers into the air in homes,
increasing asbestos levels and endangering people living in those homes.
Sources of Asbestos
Deteriorating, damaged, or
disturbed insulation, fireproofing, acoustical materials, and floor tiles.
symptoms, but long-term risk of chest and abdominal cancers and lung
diseases. Smokers are at higher risk of developing asbestos-induced lung
cancer. Integrated Risk Information System description on Asbestos - www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0371.htm#I.A. (Chemical Abstract
Service Registry Number - 1332-21-4).
The most dangerous asbestos fibers are too
small to be visible. After they are inhaled, they can remain and
accumulate in the lungs. Asbestos can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma (a
cancer of the chest and abdominal linings), and asbestosis (irreversible
lung scarring that can be fatal). Symptoms of these diseases do not show
up until many years after exposure began. Most people with
asbestos-related diseases were exposed to elevated concentrations on the
job; some developed disease from exposure to clothing and equipment
brought home from job sites.
Levels in Homes
Elevated levels can
occur in homes where asbestos-containing materials are damaged or
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