Asbestos is a naturally found elastic fibrous mineral. Owing to its resistance to corrosion, electricity, and temperature, asbestos is used to enhance the durability of commercial products, such as cement, fabric, and plastic. However, stated properties also enlist asbestos as a toxic mineral when used above regulated quantity.
Hence, it is essential to understand asbestos-related health hazards in general and specific to children before diving into preventive measures.
Scientific observations demonstrate that asbestos exposure is harmful to the healthy functioning of the lungs. Persistent inhalation or ingestion of asbestos can cause tenderness, scratching and ultimately leads to genetic impairment of tissues. Specifically, prolonged or high-quantity exposure to asbestos can be fatal, causing mesothelioma: a type of incurable lung cancer.
At this point, one must be pondering about the sources of asbestos exposure. The most commonly occurring exposures are occupational. For example, people inhibiting close to and working in the following sectors are more susceptible to asbestos-related health complications.
- Manufacturing and mining
- Electricity production and firefighting
- Shipbuilding and other heavy industries.
As for children, direct or indirect exposure to asbestos at a developing age increases the likelihood of developing lung cancer in adulthood. Therefore, embracing the following approaches can minimize children’s exposure to asbestos.
- Minimizing encounter with asbestos
There are several possibilities for asbestos to be found around the human population. As such, the soil of a barren backyard could be among the close contacts of asbestos. Hence, children playing in the mud or at an under-construction venue are more prone to exposure. Similarly, parents working in the construction industry can increase the chances of asbestos exposure in children.
In such cases, if parents are exhibiting respiratory issues, asbestos-related prognosis information is vital to identify underlying health risks. Thus, detailed professional details on parents’ conditions can be further utilized to make better decisions for the well-being of the young ones.
2. Regulating asbestos usage
Generally, carcinogenic materials become a threatening issue when their handling is inappropriate. It is even more dangerous when public health is at stake. Hence, inadequate supervision and loopholes of asbestos consumption at any stage of the supply chain can prove to be a significant threat to the health of youngsters.
Though many countries have strict regulations related to fresh usage of asbestos, several long-standing buildings have asbestos in their construction material. In addition, the atmosphere of industrial and urban areas is more likely to contain higher amounts of asbestos. Intense air pollution and smog are causing severe respiratory issues in the masses due to varied particulates.
However, children at developing ages are comparatively at a higher risk to exposure as their immune systems are not strong enough to minimize the impact of frequently inhaled antigens.
Hence, well-crafted protocols and regulations can play a significant role in the effective management of such heath-compromising substances. As such, timely inspection of suspected aged installations can prevent uncontrolled leakage of asbestos into the environment. Likewise, installing high-precision tools in industries can improve the detection of asbestos micro-particles.
3. Educating children about asbestos and related hazards
There are many sources of asbestos exposure. As such, children can encounter asbestos in schools, playgrounds, marketplaces, or nearby factories. In addition, studies show that the harmful micro-particles are one of the main constituents of air pollution in congested vicinities.
Therefore, it is practically not possible to absolutely avoid contact, obliterate sources or even alter the wind directions.
Nevertheless, enlightening children about asbestos, health-related hazards, and ways to avoid its contact are the essential preventive measures. In addition, convincing children to use face-covering masks during vigorous windy weather is not only a viable option to limit inhalation of ambient asbestos but also reduces inhalation of other airborne pollutants.
4. Purchasing asbestos-free goods
Studies show that talc, a mineral, can naturally occur near asbestos deposits. As a result, extracted talc can contain asbestos fragments. Eventually, asbestos can contaminate manufactured baby powders or talcum-based cosmetics.
Laboratory tests on cosmetic samples identified that 15% of talc-based products contain traces of asbestos. Likewise, the Manufacturing of plastic toys and other household items can be potential contaminants for children.
It is crucial to teach that human bodies do not require asbestos in whatsoever quantity. Consequently, frequent and long-term consumption of asbestos-adulterated products ultimately causes health complications.
Thus, concerned authorities should create a robust mechanism to examine asbestos at various checkpoints in Manufacturing. In addition, consumers should be careful and vigilant while buying products. It is recommended to read the list of ingredients to avoid exposure to toxins like asbestos.
5. Safe disposal and dumping of asbestos
Handling asbestos similar to other toxic minerals is vital to maintain a healthy environment for children.
Studies suggest that children can suffer respiratory issues from indoor pollution due to higher concentrations of contaminants and poor ventilation. There can be several reasons for a higher amount of indoor asbestos. As such, improper administration of cemented bricks, tiles, insulators, or other decoration items while carrying out construction or renovation increases the level of asbestos. In addition, haphazard handling or dumping of no more in-use products or materials containing asbestos can intensify asbestos quantity in closed spaces.
Hence, it is necessary to handle disturbed asbestos as per standard safety regulations of hazardous materials. Likewise, preventing children’s contact with asbestos as per safety measures is equally required.
Exposure to carcinogenic minerals like asbestos can be dangerous at a developing age. It can impair children’s immune systems and cause respiratory diseases. The exposure is even more fatal if it causes incurable lung cancer. Hence, all the stakeholders should exercise appropriate safety measures to ensure children’s well-being. Precaution is one of the most effective methods to limit asbestos exposure.