You don't want to find asbestos in your home. Often asbestos may not be as widely known as mold. However, this hazardous material can cause a number of serious health problems. In this article we cover what is asbestos, why it is so dangerous, where can you find it and how to get rid of it.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can be extracted from the earth in almost any part of the world. It is a fibrous material that is mechanically strong and very resistant to heat and chemicals. It is often included in materials that can be used to strengthen cement or plastics. Composed of thin, dense fibers, asbestos is a desirable material in the construction industry because of its ability to withstand heat, fire and does not conduct electricity.
The period from 1920 to 1990, was the peak era for the use of asbestos in housing. If your home dates from this period, the material may still be hiding in different places throughout the house.
Types of asbestos
There are several types of asbestos:
- amosite ("brown" asbestos),
- chrysotile ("white" asbestos),
- crocidolite ("blue" asbestos),
Crocidolite and amosite are the two most dangerous forms of asbestos - they are associated with the greatest health risks if their fibers are inhaled. Since the 1970s, crocidolite has been phased out. However, there are still large quantities in older constructions.
Remember: Asbestos does no harm to anyone if its condition does not change. It is only dangerous if it is cut or pierced or if its integrity is compromised in any way.
Where can you find asbestos in your home?
Asbestos is often overlooked or difficult to identify due to its incorporation into the everyday household, such as ceiling insulation of vermiculite and cement.
Inside the older home, it could be in the kitchen walls, the vinyl tiles in the bathroom flooring, and the old popcorn ceilings. Other places that owners of older homes may not realize that asbestos can be hidden are lighting fixtures, paint and plaster, sealants to seal cracks and gaps, and window glaze that keeps your home insulated from the wind in during the cold months.
What can be done to reduce the risks?
If you have to work in certain areas where you suspect that there may be asbestos dust, you must:
- be careful not to destroy asbestos products,
- to work only for short periods as well
- wear appropriate respiratory protection.
If it is necessary to move asbestos products, this must be done by a licensed contractor such as Multigroup. Under no circumstances should you remove asbestos when you are alone. After use, all clothing, etc. that is known or believed to be contaminated with asbestos dust should be placed in a labeled plastic bag. Your should arrange for it to be cleaned in the washing machine. Clothes that are contaminated with asbestos can only be cleaned in specialized laundries.
How to remove asbestos?
While DIYers like to take matters into their own hands, we don't advise it here. Our experts warn that you DO NOT try to remove asbestos yourself.
Asbestos is a complex substance because of the dangerous properties it has. When completely intact, the dangers of asbestos exposure are drastically reduced, but when torn materials break, these microscopic fibers can break and turn into air. If you breathe or swallow these small pieces of chalk, he says you can infect some serious diseases. These include lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma, which is a cancer that develops over a long period of time (20-50 years).
Because of these serious risks, you should never remove it from your home without a professional to reduce emissions.
First, call a professional to properly inspect your home. When you call a local inspector, it's imperative that you make sure they handle the asbestos reduction, and in some cases a specific contractor may be needed to reduce the asbestos. The professional will have the opportunity to safely monitor the issue and follow the correct protocol to see that no one is exposed to the hidden dangers of asbestos.
If you suspect that your home has asbestos give Multigroup Property Services a call today at 778-513-0333. We will test the environment and safely remove the asbestos.