Mould and Asbestos Exposure: How Bad Can It Be?
Exposure to some hazardous materials can cause short term and long term health effects. Possible side-effects will depend on the material type and the level of exposure. Although mould and asbestos might not always be visible, if left undetected for a long time they can be responsible for a number of health problems. These are often referred to as the silent hazards of real estate.
What Causes Mould?
Moulds are a type of fungi found everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Mould reproduces through tiny spores that travel through the air and grow on natural materials such as wood, fabric, paper and other cellulose materials and can lead to structural breakdown. Mould also releases spores into the air that can be inhaled, leading to respiratory complications.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a group of mineral fibres which are known for their resistance to heat, electricity and corrosion. It is used as a strengthening agent in many manufacturing and construction industries as a component of cement, insulation materials and other building materials. Once inhaled, asbestos fibres can get trapped in the lungs forever causing several respiratory diseases.
Health Effects from Mould Exposure
Breathing in excessive mould spores can cause multiple health concerns such as:
- Respiratory Problems
Mould can produce allergens, irritants and mycotoxins that can be hazardous to people. These can irritate the lungs, nose and throat producing conditions similar to asthma. Individuals with mould allergies have an increased risk of asthma attacks.
Mould allergies can produce symptoms including hay fever, blocked or runny nose, itchy throat, continuous sneezing and watery eyes. Extreme exposure can lead to organ failure and even death.
- Other Conditions
Mould might trigger microbe and bacteria production, exposure to which causes an inflammatory response in some individuals. There is also an increased risk of bronchial and fungal infections.
Health Effects of Asbestos
Asbestos-related diseases might vary depending upon the extent and the length of the exposure to the material. Here are some of the risks that can develop with asbestos exposure:
Breathing asbestos might cause scarring in the lungs which may result in making it harder to breathe. Asbestosis occurs in people who have had long exposure to asbestos, although symptoms may not appear in the initial years of exposure.
It is a rare cancer of the membrane covering the lungs and the chest cavity. Signs of mesothelioma may not appear for 30 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos. Once diagnosed, this disease is usually fatal within a year.
- Pleural Disease
It’s a non-cancerous lung condition that causes plaque or thickening in the lungs and chest cavity. For some people lung functionality might be affected.
- Small Pleural Effusions
Exposure to asbestos might cause pockets of fluids around the lungs. Small pleural effusions may lead to permanent shortness of breath.
- Lung Cancer
Asbestos exposure along with smoking can greatly increase the chances of developing lung cancer.
If you’re considering any renovations in a property built in the ‘80s or earlier, you need to bring in asbestos experts to assess the situation. As well, the lack of visible signs of mould in your home or business does not necessarily mean that a mould issue isn’t present. To find out for sure in either of these cases, the first step is to call the mould and asbestos experts for a free mould and asbestos inspection.
You can also read our blog Understanding Asbestos Removal for more information.
We want you to make a well-informed decision before going ahead with the process. Contact us today for our free quotes or for further details on mould and asbestos treatment.