Whenever a hurricane season approaches, people within hurricane-prone regions of the United States of America prepare by stocking up on food supplies, gasoline resources, water, and materials to strengthen and protect homes. While stocking up on all of these is important, preparing to deal with the risk of asbestos exposure once a storm has passed is equally important. Unfortunately, many people do not know about the threat of asbestos exposure after a hurricane.
Why is Asbestos a Threat After a Natural Disaster?
Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that is heat-, electricity-, and corrosion-resistant, was used throughout most of the 20th century in countless construction materials. These materials are considered safe as long as they remain in good condition and undisturbed. When asbestos-contaminated materials degrade over time, they may become damaged due to a number of forces such as renovation and unexpected natural disasters like hurricanes. Natural disasters such as hurricanes can damage asbestos-containing materials in buildings in ways that lead to asbestos exposure among homeowners, first responders, and cleanup crews.
Asbestos exposure is a huge concern because asbestos is a highly toxic substance known to cause fatal diseases. Unfortunately, asbestos-related illnesses are rarely diagnosed in the early stages of development. For instance, when it comes to mesothelioma, the time between the first asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis can be anywhere between 20 and 50 years. Asbestos-related diseases are also highly resistant to treatment. For instance, since mesothelioma is usually discovered in a late stage of development, treatments rarely cure this aggressive cancer.
How Can People Prevent Asbestos Exposure?
Firstly, to prevent asbestos exposure, people need to know which products within the home have the potential to contain asbestos. Some of the most common construction materials that may contain this toxic mineral include:
- Floor tiles
- Pipe covering
- Acoustic ceiling material
- Plasters and taping compounds
- Sealing, caulking, and spackle
Homeowners can also prevent asbestos exposure by assessing their homes for asbestos-contaminated products. However, because identifying asbestos-contaminated products can be challenging, homeowners should hire licensed professional abatement contractors to inspect their homes for asbestos-contaminated products. If a licensed professional abatement contractor discovers asbestos-contaminated products in a home, they can advise the homeowner accordingly. If, for whatever reason, a homeowner decides not to hire the services of a professional, they should, among other things:
- Put on protective gear when working around materials they suspect to be asbestos-contaminated.
- Be careful when conducting an inspection and cautious not to disturb any potentially asbestos-contaminated materials.
- Not attempt to repair or abate asbestos-contaminated products. Homeowners should leave abatement and repair work to professionals because safe asbestos abatement is extremely complex.
First responders and cleanup crews can prevent asbestos exposure by, among other things, wearing safety gear, and leaving asbestos-contaminated materials undisturbed.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.