April 10, 2013
Risk assessment of asbestos
Asbestos even at low levels causes lung cancer, small particles can be easily dislodged and inhaled will stay in the lungs forever. Besides asbestos, mesothelioma, and asbestosis ("Learn About Asbestos", n.d). Asbestos is a natural occurring silicate mineral, some estimate that some eight to ten million people have been exposed to asbestos since WWII.
Asbestos was used in buildings as an additive to cement to make it more weather resistant, as soundproofing and fireproofing in walls, and as insulation on steam and water pipes, it was also used in auto parts (Chiras, D. D. 2013).
I think the risk assessments for asbestos are acceptable. Mesothelioma, for one, is a rare form of lung cancer that only occurs with exposure to asbestos. Also, studies have shown the people who smoke and have been exposed to asbestos have a 92% greater chance of developing cancer. ("Asbestos", n.d).
In the case of asbestos, I think the one limitation is being able to tell which buildings have asbestos in them, asbestos was banned from manufacturing in the 70’s but the remaining inventory was still used till it was depleted. Even though houses built as late as 1986 can have asbestos in them, there is no record of if asbestos was used in any of the construction materials, even as far back as the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s there is no way of knowing if they contain asbestos. The only way of knowing is to break the walls and who really wants to do that, so you can be living with it in your house without even knowing.
Asbestos. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/asbestos/health_effects/
Learn About Asbestos. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/learn-about-asbestos#asbestos
Chiras, D. D. (2013). Environmental science (9th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.