Mold - Asbestos - Lead - Radon - Indoor Air Quality - Chemicals
How can asbestos affect children? We do not know if exposure to asbestos will result in birth defects or other developmental effects in people. Birth defects have not been observed in animals exposed to asbestos.It is likely that health effects seen in children exposed to high levels of asbestos will be similar to the effects seen in adults.
How can families reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos?Materials containing asbestos that are not disturbed or deteriorated do not, in general, pose a health risk and can be left alone. If you suspect that you may be exposed to asbestos in your home, contact your state or local health department or the regional offices of EPA to find out how to test your home and how to locate a company that is trained to remove or contain the fibers.
Is there a medical test to show whether I've been exposed to asbestos?Low levels of asbestos fibers can be measured in urine, feces, mucus, or lung washings of the general public. Higher than average levels of asbestos fibers in tissue can confirm exposure but not determine whether you will experience any health effects.A thorough history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests are needed to evaluate asbestos-related disease. Chest x-rays are the best screening tool to identify lung changes resulting from asbestos exposure. Lung function tests and CAT scans also assist in the diagnosis of asbestos-related disease.
Has the federal government made recommendations to protect human health?In 1989, EPA banned all new uses of asbestos; uses established before this date are still allowed. EPA established regulations that require school systems to inspect for damaged asbestos and to eliminate or reduce the exposure by removing the asbestos or by covering it up. EPA regulates the release of asbestos from factories and during building demolition or renovation to prevent asbestos from getting into the environment.
EPA has proposed a concentration limit of 7 million fibers per liter of drinking water for long fibers (lengths greater than or equal to 5 µm).
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set limits of 100,000 fibers with lengths greater than or equal to 5 µm per cubic meter of workplace air for 8-hour shifts and 40-hour work weeks.
References:Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2001. Toxicological Profile for Asbestos. Update. Atlanta, GA: U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.