Before the 1980s asbestos was widely used in many different areas of construction in both commercial and residential situations. Since then, many regulations have been put in place that have greatly reduced the presence and use of asbestos, however it has not been banned in the United States as it has been in other countries. The risk of exposure to asbestos is particularly high when renovations or retrofitting take place on buildings that were constructed prior to the 1980s.
It is for this reason that many regulations have been put in place to where before any sort of renovation takes place in a building inspections must be done, even in newer builds, to ensure that there is no risk of asbestos exposure. Asbestos can still be found in some new builds, especially in some roofing materials, so it is also a mandate for property owners to post notices of the potential asbestos exposure.
If you are a construction worker, you must be aware of the severe risks that come with exposure to asbestos and take the proper means to protect yourself while working. It can take between 20 and 40 years for the symptoms of asbestos exposure to manifest, leading to a likely diagnosis of mesothelioma, which gives a life expectancy of less than 2 years.
The best way to protect against contracting mesothelioma is prevention! You should work to understand where the asbestos is located in a building, and how to handle it properly. In addition, use adequate protective gear, such a s full coverall with attached boots and a hood, a fitted respirator with good filters, as well as very strong gloves. In order to protect people in the surrounding areas, it is also important to seal off the worksite so that no asbestos particles escape.
There is really no way to completely remove asbestos from existing structures. So until we finally ban the use of asbestos, precaution and preparation are vital to your safety!