Monday, April 28, 2014

Breathe Easy: Mold and Asbestos


How much do you know about the building you work in?  Have class in? Or even live in?  Many buildings are older or not taken care of very well and can pose serious health risks for those that spend time in them.   Older buildings are sometimes known to have asbestos in them and any building can have mold growing in it.

What is asbestos?  Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and was commonly used as a building material from the 1940’s to 1980’s.  Asbestos was chosen because of its very good insulating properties, fire resistance and durability.  In the 1980’s however it was found out that asbestos poses serious health risks.  Asbestos has very small microfibers that it gives off and breathing them in can be very detrimental to one’s health.  These fibers have been proven to cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs of those who breathe it.  This scar-like tissue is called asbestosis and it can result in loss of lung function that often progresses to a disability and death.  This isn't the only problem asbestos poses.  Asbestos has been known to cause lung cancer and other diseases such as mesothelioma.  

Asbestos isn't the only thing that can be in your walls that can harm you.  Mold has been known to also cause serious health risks.  Mold can start growing in a building because of the tiny spores that the mold releases into the air.  These spores can travel anywhere the air does including indoors.  If the spores land on an area where they can grow they will.  Common areas are basements and walls, but it can grow anywhere.  The spores that the mold gives off are the root cause of the health risks that the mold has associated with it.  Once the spores are inhaled they can cause issues such as lung irritants, coughing, asthma attacks, and even permanent lung damage.  The mold spores are also known to cause other issues like itchy eyes, sneezing, and allergic reactions. 

Both mold and asbestos can be in the building you are reading this in right now.  It’s a little scary to think about, but being informed on what can be done will help.  Asbestos can be present in older buildings and you can contact the owner of the building or get an asbestos test.  Mold can be seen by the naked eye it is commonly in walls of damp areas.  For mold you can also contact the building owner and see if mold is growing in your buildings.  In really damp areas you can commonly smell the musty odor of mold.  

Getting rid of asbestos and mold is not an easy task.  In most cases it is necessary to hire a professional for the removal of both asbestos and mold. Contractors are recommended because they are trained to remove the hazardous materials without releasing more fibers or spores into the air.  

Asbestos and mold are both very dangerous. Take precautions and get them removed so you can breathe safely and stay healthy.    

Thank you for your time and attention! Let's make it safe this Monday!

Dale Bromenshenkel
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

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