When our homes or buildings are struck by fire, flood, or other natural disasters, few people understand the asbestos risk that many will face as they attempt to rehabilitate their homes and lives. Indeed, there are a great many things on our minds as we put our lives back together. However, this risk must be considered, particularly following the incident as we clean up the rubble and debris caused by the flood, fire, or other disaster.
Many people believe asbestos use was a problem of the past and indeed legislation has been enacted preventing the use of asbestos containing materials (those containing at least 1% asbestos) since the late 1970's. However, when disaster strikes we are woken again to the sobering reality of a clear and present asbestos hazard. Nearly 80% or structures built prior to 1980 contained at least some measurable degree of asbestos containing materials. What this implies is that all should be aware of the danger asbestos exposure poses and take proper steps to protect ourselves against it.
In cases of flood, fire, or natural disaster, these asbestos-containing materials will likely be damaged, releasing the deadly fibers into the breathing air. If inhaled, these fibers can cause long-term and serious health complications down the road such as mesothelioma. Please read about specific hazards that may be encountered in flood, fire, or natural disaster sites.
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Last modified: December 28, 2010.