How Mesothelioma Can Affect Your Business ?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive rare cancer that is caused primarily by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos, which is still not banned in many countries, can commonly be found in older workplaces, buildings, and homes.
It is important as a business owner to be completely aware of all potential asbestos located on your building’s property. It could have negative lasting health effects on employees and the business. No business ever wants or should put their workers’ health at risk!
Let’s take an in-depth look at asbestos and mesothelioma and answer some of the most common questions.
How does mesothelioma occur?
Mesothelioma cancer occurs after someone is exposed to airborne asbestos. Asbestos, when properly encased in a building or home, offers no threat to one’s health. However, all things wear down over time, and if these asbestos fibres become airborne, they can be present for a long time, increasing risks of exposure significantly.
When this airborne asbestos is inhaled, the sharp, rigid microscopic fibres can easily be lodged in the linings of one’s lungs, abdomen, or internal organs. Scar tissue starts to form around this and causes cancer cell growth to form.
Unfortunately, many people go years without knowing they were wrongfully exposed to asbestos. Many of the symptoms associated with the horrible disease are not noticeable until anywhere from 10 to 45 years down the road. By the time these people try to get help, it is often too late and survival chances become poor.
How much asbestos exposure does it take to cause mesothelioma?
There is no standard correlation between the amount someone has been exposed to asbestos and if they develop mesothelioma cancer. There have been cases where someone was exposed once and developed mesothelioma, whereas there have been other cases where the person worked every day with asbestos.
This is why it is important to know if there is any asbestos lurking in your workplace. The asbestos can be tested by a professional to make sure that it is not becoming airborne and affecting workers.
I think I was exposed to asbestos. What should I do?
If you have reason to believe that you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos, you should consult with a doctor right away. Putting the idea that asbestos exposure could have occurred to your doctor is very important. They can then run the necessary tests and keep a close eye on any potential developments over the years to ensure mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases aren’t developing.
The earlier you get checked out after any potential exposure to asbestos increases the odds for survival and life expectancy if you do develop mesothelioma.
Where can I find asbestos?
Asbestos was used in just about any building material prior to the 1980’s due to its excellent fire resistant properties. Many countries have now added restrictions to the amount of asbestos that can be used in products.
Most commonly, asbestos can be found in:
- Insulation & pipe insulation
- Ceilings & floors
- Interior walls & drywalls
- Window putty
As mentioned previously, it is important to know whether or not there is asbestos in these types of products in your workplace. If so, it’s important to stay on top of the condition of your building. Due to natural wear and tear, all it takes is one unfortunate crack and asbestos located inside these products could become airborne, instantly becoming a hazard for your workers. All workers should be trained in asbestos awareness so they can recognise asbestos materials and understand the risks involved. This can be done in a classroom setting or a convenient online asbestos awareness training course.
Asbestos in my building was tested years ago and was deemed okay. Is it still safe?
If there is asbestos located in your building, you should get it inspected at least yearly. It is better to be safe than sorry, and to ensure your worker’s safety!
Walls, pipes, ceilings, floors, all wear down over time. If asbestos becomes friable, it is an instant hazard for the whole workplace.
The best course of action is to get asbestos inspected and potentially removed.
Can I remove asbestos from my building by myself?
Unless you are a licensed professional, NO! In many countries, it is illegal to remove asbestos by yourself and illegally dispose of the waste that could harm the public.
Most areas require a full HAZMAT suit to be worn in addition to a respirator for professionals that want to remove asbestos from their workplace.
A regular mask and protective clothing will not suffice and can still cause exposure to asbestos leading to asbestos-related diseases.
Please contact a local asbestos inspector and abatement specialist when getting potential asbestos hazards tested and/or removed from your workplace!
Written By Emily Walsh
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