Each year February is known as National Cancer Prevention Month, a time to shed light on how to lead a healthy and cancer-free lifestyle. It has been found that as little as five percent of cancers are hereditary, which means the choices we make every single day determine our risk. With the endless amounts of toxic chemicals being manufactured throughout consumer products, it’s no surprise that our health can be at risk in our own homes. In honor of this movement, we are highlighting the dangers behind asbestos, how to prevent exposure, and how to ultimately move towards a carcinogen-free world.
What is Asbestos?
This mineral became popular because of its ability to resist fire, chemical reactions, and remain durable for long periods of time. Up until the seventies, asbestos was heavily manufactured throughout building materials which still affects those living in older buildings and homes today. Common ways to be exposed are in the workplace, building equipment and consumer products such as cosmetics, cookware, kids toys, building materials, potting soil, products that use talcum powder, and more.
How dangerous is exposure?
Any amount of exposure is considered a threat and can potentially lead to an asbestos-related disease such as:
- Asbestosis: Scar tissue that develops in the lining of the lungs as a result of excessive exposure to asbestos fibers. This chronic lung disease is often a sign of developing mesothelioma in the future.
- Mesothelioma: This particular mineral is the only proven cause of mesothelioma, a rare cancer that can leave patients with no more than twelve months to live.
- Lung Cancer: A result of unusual cell growth in the lungs, which is often caused by inhaling tobacco smoke.
Protect Your Lungs
Here are some of the best ways to prevent exposure in your everyday life:
- Important to take caution when involved with home improvement or DIY projects because this substance does not pose a threat until it has been damaged and fibers are inhaled.
- If you are concerned that asbestos is present in your environment, especially if you are planning on any renovations, you should contact a professional who can provide reliable insight.
- Avoid products with Talcum powder, which is associated with tremolite asbestos and is often used in cosmetic and personal care products (found in Claire’s, Justice, and Johnson & Johnson).
- Because of the serious health risks associated with asbestos, there are strict regulations on how to remove the toxin.
- Never attempt to remove this mineral on your own and hire a licensed abatement specialist who can protect your health and home.
This post was a collaboration between Rosie Rosati, a mesothelioma health advocate, and Cherry Health.