Suspecting there’s asbestos in your home can cause panic as it is a known harmful substance and a serious concern. We are all exposed to low levels of asbestos at some time during our lives, as it’s been found in the air, water, and soil. Asbestos poses a major threat when regular direct contact occurs. Typically, handling this substance on the job or excessive environmental contact are the biggest risk factors that pose serious health concerns.
The World Health Organization states that asbestos exposure causes illnesses leading to more than 107,000 deaths worldwide every year. That’s very alarming, so it’s normal to feel concerned if you suspect asbestos in your home. But it’s important to remain calm and call a professional to determine if your home actually contains any materials which might pose a health risk to your family. When handled properly by a certified trained professional you can rest assured that you and your family will be spared any health risks caused by asbestos in your home.
HISTORY OF ASBESTOS USE IN HOMES
This hazardous material was used extensively in homes as a highly-effective and inexpensive fire retardant and insulator, from the early 1940s through the 1970s. In homes built prior to 1975, it’s most commonly found as thermal insulation on basement boilers and pipes.
COMMON HOUSING MATERIALS THAT CAN CONTAIN ASBESTOS
* Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
* Roofing and siding shingles
* Textured paint and patching compounds used on walls and ceilings
* Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
* Hot water and steam pipes coated with asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
* Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with asbestos insulation
FRIABLE AND NON-FRIABLE ASBESTOS
Asbestos found in homes is handled differently depending upon its location and whether it’s friable or non-friable. Friable asbestos can be easily crumbled or crushed into powder and therefore is likely to become airborne. It becomes harmful once the dust from materials containing asbestos is inhaled.
Non-friable asbestos is more compact and fibers cannot become airborne unless cut or sanded. If materials are in good condition there’s likely no immediate danger but that can quickly change as materials deteriorate. This type of asbestos is often discovered during home renovations or during the sale of a home as it undergoes rigorous inspections.
PROFESSIONAL HANDLING AND ANALYSIS
Although detailed guidance about how to collect samples that may contain asbestos are available through the Environmental Protection Agency, it is highly recommended by The American Lung Association that you hire a certified asbestos professional to collect any samples. Oftentimes, asbestos doesn’t pose a major threat until it is disturbed. Therefore improperly handling materials containing asbestos is more dangerous than living in a home where those materials exist.
After samples are analyzed by a professional, the results and risks will be discussed further with the homeowner. If these samples do come back positive for this harmful substance, removal options and any necessary health precautions will be discussed to ensure that your family’s safety is the priority.
If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, contact SanAir today by calling (804) 897-1177 or contact us through our website.