There are many dangers associated with a natural disaster – such as the loss of a home, damage to property and physical injuries that can occur with the violence of nature. But there is also a hidden danger that can be unearthed during a natural disaster: the exposure to toxic byproducts. One of the most common toxins that can be released during a natural disaster is asbestos.
Storms and the Danger of Asbestos Exposure
Violent thunderstorms with strong winds can easily spread debris for miles in any direction. Unfortunately when this debris includes asbestos-based materials, the backyards of many can be riddled with literally thousands of potential sources of asbestos exposure.
These concerns are further amplified when storms hit older homes – where not only are building materials more likely to come loose in strong winds, but asbestos is more likely to be present in the first place.
Asbestos can often be found in things like paint, vinyl flooring and the foundation of buildings. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), when asbestos fibers are loosened during a natural disaster, it may be necessary to hire a contractor to dispose of the material following the tragic event. Cancer News Digest offers some additional safety tips when dealing with storm debris that may contain asbestos, which include:
- Make sure all debris is adequately doused with water to avoid any asbestos fibers from becoming airborne
- Make sure the debris is covered when transporting for disposal to avoid asbestos fiber release
- NEVER burn building materials that may contain asbestos as this may also release asbestos fibers into the air
As mentioned above however, it is probably best to contact a professional if you need asbestos building materials removed following a violent storm.
The Dangers of Asbestos
Besides building materials such as insulation and flooring, asbestos can be found in a myriad of products that we are exposed to every day, from the brakes of our cars to even our hairdryers. When someone is exposed to asbestos fibers, it can cause serious injuries to the lungs, as well as other organs, and result in diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis. Since asbestos particles cannot be seen by the naked eye, people are often exposed to the toxin without being aware of it.
Know Your Rights
If you have been injured because of exposure to asbestos, contact a mesothelioma attorney. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical expenses, as well as lost wages. An attorney can advise you of your rights and help you navigate your way through the complicated legal process of filing a claim.