We all know asbestos is bad for you, but did you know not only is it not illegal in the US, but it’s still in very active use in other areas of the world? If you’re an avid traveler for work or leisure, you should be aware of the risks and know how to avoid asbestos while traveling so you don’t put yourself at risk. While you wouldn’t knowingly expose yourself to a hazard you can see like a sinkhole in the sidewalk, with asbestos, you may never know you’re at risk.
Asbestos fibers can be 1,200 times thinner than a human hair – so it’s naked to the visible eye and you can inhale it with no clue. You won’t cough or feel it as it goes down and even a small amount of exposure can cause dire health problems in the future. Asbestos-induced illnesses like mesothelioma and certain lung cancers gestate for decades and it can be 20, 30 or even 40 years between exposure and diagnosis. Asbestos illnesses are quite serious and prevention is your best hope.
If you travel locally or internationally, here are three tips to consider to help preserve your health.
#1 Choose newer hotels
Prior to the 1970s, most structures in the US were built using asbestos construction components including insulation, floor tiles, roofing materials and floor and wall coatings. As long as the materials stay encapsulated, there is less of a risk to your health. But in older buildings, inevitably, walls crumble, tiles crack and ceilings get flaky. This frees up asbestos fibers into the air where they can be breathed in and do irrevocable damage to your health.
By choosing newer hotels when you travel, you lessen the risk of exposure to the deadly fiber.
#2 Avoid structures under renovation
Asbestos is never 100% safe, but it’s much safer when it stays trapped in walls, tiles or other components that contain it. The two times that asbestos is most dangerous is during installation or construction and during renovation or demolition. Check to see not only when a hotel was built before you book but if it’s under renovation. A newer hotel is safest and one that is not under renovation is best as well. Also see if the area surrounding the hotel has any demolition or renovation going on. Fibers from a nearby project can blow into your breathing space and put you at risk.
#3 Avoid countries where asbestos is still in common use
Not only has the US not banned asbestos, but it’s still commonly used in many areas of the world where you may travel. Canada, Russia, China and Brazil are just a few of the nations where asbestos is still mined and manufactured into products.
China is the world’s leading user of asbestos followed by India. You are likely to stay in a hotel or visit a facility that uses asbestos containing products in one of these countries. Indonesia, Sri Lanka and many other Asian and Middle East nations are using asbestos products that other nations are banning, so these are all areas to be careful when visiting.
Asbestos exposure causes diseases that kill thousands of people each year
If you or someone you love have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact Bergman Draper Oslund. We fight for the rights of asbestos victims and have won more than $700 million in settlements victims and their families.
Claim My Free Case Evaluation Today