PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Reducing the level of exposure to asbestos is the best prevention against asbestosis. In the United States, federal law requires employers in industries that work with asbestos products — such as construction and shipyard industries — to monitor exposure levels, create regulated areas for asbestos work, and provide their employees with appropriate training, protective gear such as face masks, and decontamination hygiene areas. The laws also mandate regular medical exams to detect early asbestosis.
Many homes built before the 1970s contain asbestos in such items as:
- Building insulation
- Insulation for hot-water and steam pipes
- Soundproofing and decorative material sprayed on walls and ceilings
- Roofing and siding shingles
- Vinyl floor tiles
Generally, there's no cause for concern as long as these materials are in good condition and you don't disturb them or cause them to disintegrate. It's when they're damaged that there's a danger of asbestos fibers being released into the air. And asbestosis occurs only after repeated exposure to a large amount of fibers over many years.
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