Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion. It has been used in products, such as insulation for pipes (steam lines for example), floor tiles, building materials, and in vehicle brakes and clutches. Asbestos includes the mineral fibers chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and any of these materials that have been chemically treated or altered. Heavy exposures tend to occur in the construction industry and in ship repair, particularly during the removal of it’s materials due to renovation, repairs, or demolition. Workers are also likely to be exposed during the manufacture of asbestos products (such as textiles, friction products, insulation, and other building materials) and during automotive brake and clutch repair work.
Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard and its use is now highly regulated by both OSHA and EPA. The fibers associated with these health risks are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Breathing these fibers can cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs called asbestosis and result in loss of lung function that often progresses to disability and death. It also causes cancer of the lung and other diseases such as mesothelioma of the pleura which is a fatal malignant tumor of the membrane lining the cavity of the lung or stomach. Epidemiologic evidence has increasingly shown that all these fiber types, including the most commonly used form, chrysotile, causes mesothelioma in humans.
OSHA has three standards to protect workers from the hazards of asbestos depending on the type of workplace, they are General Industry, Shipyards and Construction.
For more information about Asbestos access OSHA’s website.
At Access Health Systems we provide Asbestos/Hazmat Physicals that meet all OSHA’s standards. Physical, pulmonary function test, and respiratory questionnaire. To make an appointment you can call us at 518-782-2200 or email us or click here for online appointment.