Reducing 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 — to take special safety measures.

Many homes built before the 1970s have materials such as pipes and floor tiles that contain asbestos. Generally, there's no cause for concern as long as the asbestos is enclosed and undisturbed. It's when materials containing asbestos are damaged that there's a danger of asbestos fibers being released into the air. However, asbestosis typically occurs only after prolonged exposure to asbestos fiber.

Jan. 02, 2014

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