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With Asbestos, death lurks behind our walls and ceilings

Asbestos remains a problem for people in California. It is a problem throughout the United States. It is also a problem throughout the world. A member of parliament in Australia writes of its impact in Australia, pointing out that it has killed 50,000 and he states that, “Every day in this state another person dies as a result of exposure to this terrible product.”

This article could have been written by a member of the California legislature, because the threat is the same, wherever asbestos is present. And where is it present? More or less, in all homes or building built before 1990 probably have some asbestos-containing materials in the walls and siding, on the roofs and ceilings, in the floors, and around the wiring, plumbing or heating and air-conditioning ducts.

Asbestos exposure causes various types of lung cancer, including deadly mesothelioma. As long as the material is encapsulated within another material, it may pose little threat, as it must be inhaled. Once asbestos is lodged deep in the lungs, it damages the lung and causes scar tissue to form, slowly destroying one’s ability to breath. Long after the initial exposure, mesothelioma may be diagnosed, typically too late for successful treatment.

Because many people do not understand the risk, they may inadvertently cut or drill through the product, transforming the solid wall or flooring into fine, aerosol dust that can easily be inhaled.

Given the millions of homes and building containing this material, it is unlikely that the death toll from asbestos will decline, and as many of these structures are remodeled or torn-down, it may begin to increase.

Source:, “Asbestos: the killer we allow to remain with us,” Larry Graham, May 13, 2013