Asbestos is a naturally occurring dangerous mineral. While there was a time in the somewhat recent past when the dangers surrounding asbestos were still unknown, it is still a concern for exposed individuals, both past and future.
Now that the risks of asbestos exposure are more apparent, there has been a significant reduction in the use of asbestos. Still, in addition to limited use in the United States, other countries, like Russia and Mexico, send asbestos-containing products to the U.S.
These are some ways you could be exposed to asbestos and when it could be a health risk.
When would I encounter asbestos?
Since many asbestos products are no longer on the market, exposures are more likely to be accidental. For example, products that contain talc are more likely to have small amounts of asbestos since mines contain both minerals.
There is also asbestos in some older products that are still in use, such as:
- Floor tiles
- Automotive brake pads
For most, these older products are not an issue for asbestos exposure but could pose problems if you are attempting a weekend do-it-yourself project. Although there is no evidence to support asbestos penetrating human skin, the particles can linger in the air for days and pose an inhalation risk long after your project is over.
When should I be worried?
Over the last several years, there have been many lawsuits against companies like Johnson & Johnson and others. These companies are supposed to have protections to detect and prevent dangerous asbestos particles from their final products, but sometimes those measures fail.
Another risk is with DIY projects in older homes. While tiles may not pose a threat when they are whole, if they break, asbestos particles can release into the air.
It is essential to learn about the products you buy and use, and those you intend to repair or replace. In some cases, you can purchase kits or have products tested before risking asbestos exposure.