Asbestos was an incredibly common component of many building materials, from roofing and siding to floor tile, pipe insulation, and even spackles and surface compounds!
Because Asbestos was used in so many products, and for so many different purposes, it’s still very common to find building materials in homes today that still contain Asbestos. But what is Asbestos and, more importantly, what should you do if you come across something that you think may contain Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was mined, crushed, and mixed into building materials and household products. Chosen for its unique properties, such as heat resistance, durability, sound dampening, and hydrophobic qualities, Asbestos was viewed at the time as a miracle material. It was used to make materials like floor tile stronger, pipe insulation heat resistant, and even to add a level of soundproofing to rooms!
Unfortunately, the more we used Asbestos, the more we ultimately learned about the health effects caused by Asbestos exposure. Today, Asbestos is used in very few products, and we continue to work to remove Asbestos from homes where it was installed previously and replace it with safer alternatives.
Even with the focus on removing Asbestos materials from properties, it’s estimated that Asbestos materials still exist in 30 Million homes and schools across the United States!
Yes. The health effects of Asbestos exposure are well documented and include lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, among other serious diseases and conditions. Asbestos fibers are extremely small and are able to get lodged in airways, lungs, and the lining of the stomach, ultimately causing health effects that can develop years later.
As mentioned earlier, Asbestos was included in many, many, building materials. An extremely popular material at the time, Asbestos was even used in household products like oven mitts, tablecloths, and hair dryers!
Unfortunately, when considering what building materials may contain Asbestos in a home, many materials are suspect. A few of the most common materials we still see in homes today are:
If you believe that a building material may contain Asbestos, or are concerned that it may, testing is available to determine if the material contains Asbestos and to what extent. Asbestos was used in many products, and whether the material is Asbestos containing or not often cannot be determined through a visual inspection alone.
In the meantime, and until it’s confirmed that the material is safe, it’s important not to disturb it. If the material is in poor condition or is damaged, it’s recommended to close off the area and to avoid the space until a qualified professional is able to inspect the material and determine if it contains Asbestos.
Most states require Asbestos Testers be licensed with the state and often provide a list of all actively licensed testers on their licensing websites.
Due to the potential hazards, removal of Asbestos containing materials should be performed by a qualified, and properly licensed, Asbestos Abatement Contractor. These contractors are specially trained to perform this work safely using proven methods and processes and are licensed by their state to perform this work.
It’s important to consider the potential risk that improper Asbestos Abatement presents. In cases where Asbestos containing materials are removed without following adequate safety protocols and abatement standards, Asbestos fibers can be released from the material and contaminate the property. For this reason, Asbestos Abatement projects should be performed by qualified firms that are able to perform this work properly and safely.
We hope this answers some questions about Asbestos and what options are available to you if you discover Asbestos in your home. As always, if you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Your Local Disaster Blaster! We’re always here to help!
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