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Asbestos: Why it's important to limit exposure

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals resistant to corrosion and heat. Asbestos has been used in a number of products in the past including insulation for pipes and in building materials. Many of the minerals that make up asbestos have been chemically treated or changed, which make them hazardous to those who work with or are exposed to them.

It's most common to be exposed to asbestos during renovations, repairs or when manufacturing products including asbestos. Unfortunately, asbestos is a well-known health hazard and has the potential to lead to asbestosis or cancer, like mesothelioma.

Is asbestos illegal?

No. It's not illegal despite knowing that it can cause harm to those exposed to it. Instead of making the material illegal, new standards were implemented to reduce the overall exposure to the material. There is no safe level of exposure for any kind of asbestos fiber, and just a few days of exposure can lead to the development of mesothelioma.

For those who do need to work with asbestos, employers must provide safe, regulated areas while using engineering controls to limit the levels of asbestos in the air. Employees must wear personal protective equipment, and medical monitoring of workers must be provided if the exposure times or legal limits are exceeded.

What should you do if you develop an illness from asbestos exposure?

The first thing you should do is seek medical help and advice. Early treatment can help reduce your symptoms and may help you live a more comfortable life. Developing cancer or asbestosis from exposure can be directly linked to exposure in the workplace or in buildings with asbestos. If you can identify where you may have been exposed, then you can file a claim against that company or facility for the injuries you're suffering now.

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