Posted on November - 08 - 2008
When searching for a new home or apartment, there are many things to consider. One of the main items that go unnoticed is taking precautions to avoid Asbestos related exposure. Most homes built after 1980 could harvest asbestos. As awareness and protocols continue to advance, levels of asbestos have slowly began to decline in many states. Although Hawaii is one of the few locations in the world where asbestos deposits do not occur naturally, it is not released from asbestos related injuries or disease. Hawaii has two major military bases and oil refineries where were filled with asbestos products.
Hawaii At-Risk Locations and Occupations
Used in homes throughout the 20th century, asbestos insulation has produced people to contract mesothelioma, a form of cancer where treatment is limited, chronic respiratory problems and malignant mesothelioma. People who work in marine industries in the greater United States have a higher risk of developing Mesothelioma, the main asbestos related disease. One of the most important naval bases in the country is Pearl Harbor, where oil refining has an association to asbestos insulation. Gear that was meant to protect workers from fire was unfortunately made with asbestos. These asbestos fibers were released into the air and inhaled by workers, causing asbestos related illness to occur.
Since 1979, there have been as many as 138 deaths resulting from asbestos exposure in Hawaii. The most concentrated area of deaths was in Honolulu County because it is more heavily populated then the rest of the state. The disease known as asbestosis is the most common, but the majority of illnesses and deaths come from mesothelioma.
Prior to moving in to your new home or apartment, you must make sure there are no asbestos related materials or fibers present. It is important to meet with health or environmental professionals to properly examine your new property. Health risks involved in dealing with non regulated asbestos materials should be performed by contractors, home owners or licensed asbestos contractors. Wearing safety equipment is vital in eliminating the chance of exposure. Normal regulations by the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) call for disposable suits, gloves and a half mask respirator which includes High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. Schools, places of work and other public locations must also be removed by professionals. Insulations used in ships and boats harvested asbestos fibers such as amphibole fibers. These fibers are harder and spear like, producing cancer more quickly in individuals.
An efficient way to dispose of asbestos is to bury it or any way that will prevent it from becoming airborne. Landfills will sometimes accept big amounts of asbestos if it is properly contained. Contractors and investors are noticing that eco-friendly construction will support positive long term benefits to environmental and physical health. Many cities throughout the United States are swiftly changing their construction practices to suit the environment and the health of human beings.
Resources for Hawaii Residents
The largest asbestos related issues in Hawaii are regarding the natural preservation of the area. As well, a school was found to have asbestos in it in 2005 – however it will take years before it is known whether mesothelioma will be caused by this exposure. One teacher at the school has promised to keep all the students names that were exposed to asbestos on file until the outcome is known.