How are you exposed?
People are usually exposed to asbestos when it is released into the air by a disturbance of the material it is in. Disturbing the asbestos-containing material can release it into the air, where it can enter your lungs and harm your body.
Symptoms do not usually appear until many years after exposure because it takes a long time for asbestos to damage the lungs. The health effect depends on many different factors such as length of exposure, how often you are exposed, how you are exposed and individual characteristics such as age gender, etc.
- Difficulty breathing
Asbestos is a known human carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer. The two cancers that are related to asbestos are mesothelioma and lung cancer. These cancers do not develop immediately after exposure but after many years. Asbestos can also cause asbestosis, which is scarring of the lung tissue from breathing in the fibers.
If you think that your home may have asbestos in it is important to test for it. Home test kits are available at hardware stores. These are relatively inexpensive and can save you from spending a lot of money on professional testing. However, should the home test come back positive then you should hire a licensed professional to test and remove the asbestos. Trying to remove it yourself can be dangerous to you and your family. For trained licensed asbestos removers, please visit the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality list of trained professionals.