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7 Ways To Teach Kids What To Do In Case Of Asbestos Poisoning

>> Feb 20, 2019

Asbestos is a type of natural fiber that was widely used in the construction trade for more than 100 years. In the 1900s, scientists and researchers discovered the many harmful effects of the substance and began phasing it out of all new buildings.

The problem is so widespread globally that most major cities now have testing and treatment facilities dedicated to asbestos-related illnesses. There are centers in large metropolitan areas worldwide, including New York-based clinics, Moscow hospitals with asbestos units, several Los Angeles treatment and testing labs, and Brisbane asbestos testing facilities as well.
Still a Problem

Even after asbestos was identified as the cause of several deadly lung diseases, primarily asbestos is, there are still thousands of lawsuits each year in which injured parties sue the owners or builders of structures that used asbestos as a fire retardant or type of insulation.

Helping Children Avoid the Danger

Kids need to understand how dangerous asbestos is. Even though asbestos-related diseases are very rare in children, that's only because it takes many years for illnesses to show up after exposure.

Every parent should warn their children about the potential hazards associated with asbestos. There's no need to be a scientist or medical expert to inform youngsters about the key things to watch out for. Safety precautions include telling children about what to do if they suspect they have been exposed to asbestos, how to identify symptoms, and how to avoid places where they might encounter asbestos.

Seven Things Kids Should Know About Asbestos

Parents, teachers and responsible adults should make certain that children and teenagers know the following facts about asbestos:

1. Never play or hang around in condemned or abandoned buildings. In many cases, buildings like that have been vacated because they are dangerous. It's common for older, dilapidated structures to contain asbestos as an insulation, fire-retardant or have it in the ceiling or floor. If a building is empty, old or looks like no one has been in it in a long time, stay away. Of course, there are other reasons to avoid old building, but asbestos can certainly be one of the main problems with such places.

2. Kids should know the steps their parents have taken to make a home safe. That means parents should tell children about the dangers of asbestos and show them the places in a home where it might be located. Remember, kids play in many of their friends' homes, so they need to be aware of safe and not-safe zones for playing.

3. Know the warning signs of asbestos poisoning. They include a hacking, dry cough, wheezing, swollen fingers, tightness or sharp chest pain, loss of appetite, being tired when you should feel alert, and being short of breath even when not exerting yourself. If kids know what to look for, they might be able to spot a case of acute asbestos exposure in themselves or someone else, even an adult. The more children know about the common symptoms of asbestos poisoning, the better.

4. Asbestos clings and sticks to clothing, which is one of its most dangerous characteristics. In fact, adults who work in places like shipyards, heavy construction/demolition sites, and mines can easily bring home asbestos fibers without knowing it. Children should be aware if any of the homes where they play might be at risk for exposure. It is important for parents to know the occupations of the adults in homes where children socialize.

5. Don't play in attics or basements unless parents have given the okay. In older homes, or ones in disrepair, open walls and ceilings can lead to asbestos exposure. When kids play in attics, basements, under porches and in old garages, parents should thoroughly inspect the area for potential asbestos danger.

6. There are some very good resources on the Internet where children can read the basics about asbestos danger. Fact sheets, Wikipedia pages, and general science sites are a good place to start.

7. Avoid getting to close to large construction sites. It's always interesting to watch a crew put up a new building, but be very careful when you see a construction team tearing down an old building. Even if there is a safety wrap around the work area, it's possible to become exposed to asbestos during heavy digging, demolition and tear-down.

Asbestos is often present in homes built before 1990, in large industrial buildings built any time in the 1900s, and even in floor and ceiling tiles in some newer buildings. It's important for everyone, not just children, to know how to identify potential sources of asbestos and know what to do after being exposed to the substance.

Even though the severe dangers of asbestos are well known to the scientific and construction communities, the substance is still all around us, in ceiling tiles, flooring, kitchen appliances, and many scientific devices. And it's carried from place to place by clothing and even on human skin. The dangers of asbestos are real and usually avoidable. But adults and children need to know the facts, know where to look for asbestos, know the symptoms of related illnesses, and have ready access to contact information for asbestos testing and treatment centers.

The main thing for everyone to remember is that asbestos can lead to serious lung diseases, cancer and a whole range of breathing problems, some of which can not be treated and will only get worse.

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