Many people do not think about how much asbestos was used to build their home or apartment until exposure becomes a problem. If a building tests positive for asbestos today, extreme caution is taken by professionals to ensure it is removed or sealed in a safe manner - most of the time.
Recently in Alexandria, Virginia, residents of an apartment complex found out that they had been subjected to asbestos exposure as the result of a contractor improperly handling the substance. Microscopic particles were released into the air and breathed in by residents for nearly three months. Now they must wait and see if those fibers will become trapped within their respiratory system and evolve into an asbestos-related disease.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) found that the contractor hired to make renovations on the complex failed to take the necessary precautions when handling asbestos-related materials in the building.
One resident worries about a mesothelioma diagnosis down the line for both herself and her children: "There's no telling, and from everything the EPA has told us, we just have to wait around for a decade or two to see if we get mesothelioma, and that's disturbing." She has every right to worry, as mesothelioma is a painful and fatal form of cancer that can shorten a victim's life dramatically.
Many victims of asbestos exposure are exposed to the substance without knowing how it could affect their health. Employers, contractors, and even asbestos manufacturing companies have been found guilty of misleading the public about the dangers of the substance.