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U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin Urges Americans to Learn the Dangers of Asbestos

05-13-2013

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin issued a statement urging Americans to learn and take precautions against the dangers of asbestos as part of Asbestos Awareness Week which took place April 1 – April 7.

The World Health Organization estimates that over 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related disease--10,000 of those deaths occurring in the US. Almost all of us are exposed to very low levels of asbestos in the air, but most will never develop an asbestos-related disease unless directly exposed to higher concentrations.

Asbestos is banned in over 50 countries throughout the world including most of Europe and all of Australia. Asbestos has not yet been banned in the United States, most of South America, China and Asia. Mining for asbestos is banned in the US, but asbestos is still imported and used in a wide range of products.

These days, most exposures to asbestos occur from renovations performed on buildings and homes built before the 1980s, automotive work and clean-up from natural disasters. Asbestos fibers are invisible and most people are unaware that it is present in the air they are breathing.

The following is a list of “usual suspects” for containing asbestos:

  • Roofing materials
  • Popcorn ceilings
  • Drywall and drywall mud
  • Vinyl and linoleum floor tiles
  • Cementious or transite pipe
  • Wall or ceiling insulation
  • Textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceilings
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves and fireplaces
  • Hot water and steam pipe insulation
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets
  • Automotive brakes and clutches

This informative video shows in detail what to look out for in the home if you suspect asbestos is present.

If you suspect asbestos is present, do not disturb it, and contact an accredited asbestos abatement professional who can let you know whether it is safely contained or if it presents a danger to you and your family.

For more information on asbestos please visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

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