Don't let asbestos get the best of you If your home was built in the 1980's or before, there's a pretty good chance it was constructed using asbestos products. Until that time, asbestos was seen only as an effective building material. It is an effective insulator, sound dampener, and fireproofing material. Not until after it had been used in many homes and buildings was it discovered that asbestos is associated with numerous health risks. Since then, there has been created an entire industry dedicated to the removal and replacement of asbestos products.Health risks of asbestos exposure If left intact, asbestos is relatively harmless. It is only when it starts to deteriorate and some of the loose fibers become airborne that it poses any danger.
Asbestos dust consists of microscopic fibers so fine that they can stay suspended in air for hours, and consistent inhalation of these fibers is a cause of numerous respiratory issues. It causes the tissues of the lungs to scar and become stiff, making breathing difficult and increasing the risk of serious respiratory and cardiac diseases as well as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Where you might find asbestos in your home Asbestos is found in many building materials that were commonly used in home-building from the early 1900's all the way up to the late 1980's. It was used in the making of vinyl floor tiles, drywall compounds, and shingles. Pipes and electrical wiring were often coated with a sheath of an asbestos based textile.
Compounds made up of a mix of asbestos and cement can be found on the outside of the home, such as in siding and soffit. If you're planning on doing any significant remodeling to your home, it is recommended that you first get it tested for asbestos. How to tell if you home was built with asbestos products The most telling factor in determining whether or not your home or office contains asbestos based building materials is the date of construction. If that date is on or before about 1989 there's a good chance that some part of the building was constructed with some kind of asbestos containing material. As previously mentioned, it is only harmful when it becomes breathable, but asbestos in its various forms is easily dispersed if disturbed by, for example, sawing, drilling, or sanding. Prior to any of that happening, you'll want to ensure that if asbestos is present, it gets removed before it becomes a problem. Even if you aren't renovating, if your house is a few years old its wise to take a look around all its nooks and crannys, keeping an eye out for deteriorating materials like drywall or ceiling tiles. If there is any sign of this, its worth having those materials tested and possibly replaced.
Getting rid of asbestos Asbestos removal is best handled by the professionals. While it might seem simple to remove all asbestos containing materials from your home, the process of doing so without dispersing fibrous asbestos dust into the air can be difficult. Usually, the area is well coated in plastic sheeting and sprayed with water to keep the fibers out of the air while the offending materials are removed as delicately as possible. Contacting your nearest asbestos testing expert is the best first step to making sure your home is safe to live in.