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Is lead and asbestos the same?

For many homeowners and business operators, environmental safety has taken center stage in our homes and workplaces. Two substances often at the heart of safety discussions are lead and asbestos. Understanding the differences between these two hazards and the potential level of their harmfulness is critical. While both have historically been used to a great extent for countless purposes, their harmful health effects have led to strict regulations and heightened public awareness of the importance of properly managing these dangers.

We’re going to explore the distinct characteristics of lead and asbestos, as well as dig into the health risks of each, individual, and why it’s so important to have professional help and expertise handling the project.  

What is Lead?

Lead is a heavy metal that humans have been using for millennia. It has a unique malleability and resistance to corrosion and the ability to be easily extracted which made it incredibly popular, and it’s been used to make things like pipes, paints, and even household items like toys and jewelry.

However, as our understanding of its health impacts has grown, its use has significantly declined. Despite this decline, lead remains a concern, especially in older structures. Homes and buildings constructed before the late 1970s are likely to contain lead-based paint, which, when deteriorating, can release harmful lead dust into the environment.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the term for a group of about 6 minerals that have a fibrous structure and are best known for their durability, fire resistance, and insulating properties. This made asbestos incredibly popular in construction for most of the 20th century, where it was used in countless applications across construction and manufacturing, including insulation, roofing shingles, floor tiles, and ceiling tiles. 

That said, the properties that made asbestos valuable also make it dangerous. When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, they can release fine fibers into the air. Inhaling these fibers can trap them in the lungs, where they stay, causing serious illnesses. Homes built before the 1980s are more likely to have asbestos-containing materials.

Health Risks of Asbestos & Lead

Both substances


Asbestos exposure is primarily linked to respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, a chronic lung disease. Symptoms often appear decades after exposure, making it particularly dangerous. The microscopic fibers can cause inflammation and scarring in the lungs, leading to long-term respiratory issues and even death. The latency of these diseases underscores the importance of early detection and prevention by removing asbestos from the spaces you frequent.


Lead exposure poses significant health risks, particularly to children and pregnant women. In children, even low levels of lead can cause developmental issues, learning disabilities, and reduced growth. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from high blood pressure, kidney damage, and reproductive problems. The insidious nature of lead poisoning, where symptoms may not be immediately apparent, makes it a silent but serious threat to health.

Safe Handling and Removal

The safe handling and removal of lead and asbestos are tasks that require professional expertise. Professionals in this field are trained to identify and safely remove or contain these materials, following strict regulatory guidelines. They use specialized equipment to ensure that lead and asbestos can be removed without contaminating the surrounding environment. 

DIY removal attempts can inadvertently lead to increased exposure and health risks, and in some cases, even fines or other punishments for improper handling or disposal of the materials. This is why professional testing and removal is so crucial to long-term safety.

Trust Sensitive Environmental For Professional Lead & Asbestos Removal

Whether you know you need lead or asbestos abatement, or you think you may and haven’t gotten professional testing yet, Sensitive Environmental is ready to be your partner in making a safer environment. Our team of experts ensures safe, compliant, and efficient removal, just reach out to get started. 

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