Home renovations may have a deadly consequence for some homeowners. Experts fear that exposure to asbestos during home renovations may spark a new wave of mesothelioma cases.
But it’s not just homeowners that are at risk – construction workers are also at risk.
According to Canada’s Construct Connect, the number-one way workers are exposed to asbestos is through unsafe demolitions and renovations in residential homes.
Asbestos can be found in thousands of buildings built before the 1980s. The material can be found in linoleum flooring, vinyl flooring, roof shingles, loose insulation, pipe insulation, stucco, deck under-sheeting and gypsum-board filling.
If left alone, most asbestos-containing materials are typically safe. But when they are disturbed by scraping, sanding, or tearing, the fibers may be released into the air and breathed into the lungs. Exposure can cause serious health issues, including cancer and lung diseases.
Most of the patients being diagnosed with mesothelioma today were exposed to the material in the 1970s and 1980s, when we still had little information on the health effects of asbestos.
The majority of the people being diagnosed with the cancer worked in trade and manufacturing. But we’re now seeing more diagnoses caused by exposure outside of the workplace.
Experts fear that the DIY home renovation movement may be putting more people at risk of mesothelioma. Many are calling for hardware stores and TV shows to provide warnings and advertising of the risk of asbestos exposure.
Those who are being diagnosed for exposure outside of the workplace are part of a so-called third wave of asbestos victims. The first wave included asbestos miners, while the second wave included tradespeople who worked with asbestos. The third wave includes DIY renovators who were exposed to the material while renovating the family home.
Homeowners may consider having their homes checked for asbestos before undergoing any renovation work. If asbestos is found, it must be removed by a qualified and experienced asbestos-abatement contractor.