Asbestos Fibers – Silent Invisible Killers
When it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones from harm, asbestos fibers pose a challenging and very lethal threat.
If there’s a flame under a pot on the stove, you avoid putting your hand in that flame. If you are chopping vegetables with a sharp knife, you keep the sharp edge away from your fingers. When you are crossing a street, you wait for the walk sign and if a small child is with you, you hold their hand while you cross to protect them from possibly getting hit by a car.
But what do you do if there is a threat that you cannot see, feel, taste or smell? How do you protect yourself? How do you protect your family? You can’t. It’s impossible. That is the frightening truth about asbestos fibers.
Asbestos fibers can be 700 times smaller than a human hair, according to a Princeton University asbestos fact sheet. Some asbestos can be seen as dust but asbestos fibers can also be invisible to the human eye. You can’t see it. What’s more, it is odorless, tasteless and indestructible.
Asbestos fibers do not evaporate into air or dissolve in water, the US Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry reports. Small diameter fibers and particles may remain suspended in the air for a long time and be carried long distances by wind or water before settling down. Larger diameter fibers and particles tend to settle more quickly.
Asbestos fibers generally do not break down to other compounds and will remain virtually unchanged over long periods.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the EPA have determined that asbestos is a human carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure. Yet asbestos remains legal in the United States, tragically impacting families. An estimated 10,000 Americans die every year from preventable asbestos-caused diseases. “Without adequate regulations, Americans cannot determine or manage consumer, environmental and occupational asbestos risk,” states the Environmental Working Group, an organization that monitors the safety of U.S. products.
If you can’t see or smell or taste asbestos, how do you know if it is in a product you are working with? You don’t. Only the people who put it there know. In many cases we have handled, product manufacturers and distributors knew of asbestos contamination and withheld that information with tragic results. Workers and their family members, who were contaminated by secondary asbestos exposure, have been diagnosed with fatal asbestos-caused diseases. Let us know if this has happened to you.