Many of us live, and work in buildings or structures built prior to the 1980’s. The age of the buildings we inhabit is not something that we commonly think about on a daily basis, and often it is taken for granted that we have a structure to protect us. In fact, most individuals spend more than 75% of their time indoors, divided between work and leisure time. But, working in, and inhabiting older buildings and homes should be taken into consideration, because the health threats they can pose are in fact, a daily health concern.
Most of us know that dwellings and establishments constructed during this time period commonly have a threat of containing contaminants like lead paint- which have serious health implications. In addition, radon gas and carbon monoxide are other common threats that older homes can contain, if not properly inspected.
Since we spend so much time in these spaces, we should consider an addition threat: asbestos exposure. Asbestos is found in wall coverings, ceiling tiles, popcorn ceiling material, plumbing, and even loose insulation. Has your office space recently undergone renovations? Its important to ensure the proper steps were taken to ensure asbestos fibers were not released into the air, if your workplace or home tested positive for asbestos. Exposure to the material can lead to long term health concerns, like pleural mesothelioma – a type of lung cancer.
Do your research! Check our resources in your area that can connect you with ways to identify asbestos contaminated buildings in your area. Check your county and city websites to educate yourselves on some common areas where asbestos might occur in your town. If you are in New York City, check out this asbestos locator map, as well as infographic with the total number of violations in the city.