If you own an older home or building, chances are good that asbestos was used in it when it was built, and might have even been used in later renovations. Asbestos is a mineral that was popular as a building material for decades in the U.S. up until the 1980s, largely because of its resistance to fire. However, it was later found that fibers that can slough off from asbestos can cause serious lung diseases. The material was banned for use in the U.S., and there are rules about remodeling properties that contain it. Here are some things you should know about asbestos in your home.
Asbestos was most likely used in floor and ceiling tiles and in insulation. If you plan to do a renovation to your home or business building, you will want to know if you have asbestos present. Hiring an inspector that specializes in asbestos inspections will help you to make sure to know if asbestos is present.
If you do have asbestos present in the areas being remodeled, then it is best to hire a licensed contractor who specializes in asbestos removal and remediation. Such a contractor will first remove asbestos before disturbing the area to help cut down on the risk that any of it will cause a hazard. Having to have asbestos removed will add time and money to your project, but it is necessary for the safety of the people living or working in a building as well as the workers doing the renovation.
The good news is that asbestos is usually not a hazard just being present in a building. So as long as you do not disturb the areas containing asbestos or they are not damaged, there is little or no risk of you inhaling asbestos fibers and getting sick.
Get more information at loose-fill asbestos insulation.
If you have heard about loose-fill asbestos insulation, you have probably also heard how dangerous it can be. So much so, the Australian government recommends you have your home tested for loose-fill asbestos insulation the minute you feel it may be present.
As asbestos goes, loose-fill asbestos insulation is the most dangerous kind there is, with many reasons for why your home should get tested for it.
Why is loose-fill asbestos insulation dangerous? — Unlike larger sheets of asbestos that were once used for insulation, loose-fill asbestos is made up of tiny pieces of asbestos. These pieces disintegrate over time, and then the small pieces escape into the air.
Once in the air, you, your family or your pets can breathe them in. If they get trapped in your lungs, they can quickly cause breathing problems and, ultimately, even cancer. This is why loose-fill asbestos is so dangerous and should be removed as soon as you know your home has it.
How do you test for loose-fill asbestos? — You can test it yourself with a home test kit. This requires taking samples of materials from inside walls and underneath sinks and transferring them to glass vials. Once finished, you will then send the vials to a lab where the material will be tested for asbestos.
Professional asbestos testing — If you do not feel comfortable doing the testing yourself, you can also hire a professional testing company that will do it for you.
They will send a technician to your home to do the proper testing, and will then send the samples to a lab. If it is discovered you do have loose-fill asbestos insulation in your home, they will then contact you and go over some of the options you have to completely get rid of it.
Having loose-fill asbestos in your home is dangerous. In some areas of the world, it is also against the law. Meaning, as soon as you discover you have this type of asbestos in your home, you must make arrangements to have it removed so it does not harm your health or that of anyone else that enters your home.
Why is loose-fill asbestos insulation dangerous? — Unlike the typical sheets of asbestos that were often used to insulate walls, attics and under floors, loose-fill asbestos insulation comes in tiny pieces.
What that means is it is far more likely that small pieces of asbestos will break off and escape into the air. When they do, they can be breathed in and can cause lung problems and even lung cancer.
What can you do about loose-fill asbestos insulation? — The main thing that must be done as soon as possible is to have the building tested for asbestos. There are many companies online that can arrange to come to your home or office building and test for it.
Testing takes only an hour or two, and results should be released by the lab within 24 to 48 hours.
If you do then discover that loose-fill asbestos insulation is in the walls, ceilings and floors of a building you spend time in, you must then arrange to have it removed.
Depending on how much is in there, how long it has been there and what condition it is in, an asbestos company will then give you options for how it must be removed.
All reputable asbestos companies will remove it in a safe way, and make sure to keep the surrounding neighborhood safe while it is being done. This will usually require tenting the building during the time the asbestos removal takes place.