Asbestos Risks In Your Home or Building

Asbestos Risks In Your Home or Building

Asbestos is a toxic substance that humans cannot tolerate. Although the substance was banned for the most part in the late 1980s, it is still in many structures that were built before the ban. Given this, what is your risk to exposure and what steps can be taken?

Asbestos in and of itself is not a health risk. For instance, many structures of siding that incorporates asbestos. This siding is not a problem unless it begins to degrade or is damaged. The reason is the nature of the asbestos threat. Simply put, asbestos only causes health problems if tiny particles of it get into the air and are then breathed in by a person. It is only access through the lungs that gives it a chance to do its damage whether it be lung cancer, Mesothelioma or asbestosis.

Asbestos can be found in older buildings in numerous areas. Pipes and water heaters are often insulated using it because it holds the heat in very well. The same goes for insulation. The insulation that is sprayed onto drop down ceilings in rooms can contain it as well. It can even be in the floor tiles you are walking on.

Given the wide scope of uses, what can you do to figure out if you have a problem. Well, the only way to really know is to call in a certified inspector. That person will do a physical review for problems spots as well as an air test. The air tests will seek to establish if asbestos is in the air and, if so, in what quantities. Only then can you really know if you have a problem.

What about removing the asbestos? Many people actually put themselves at major risk by simply starting to remove problem areas on their own. This is a huge mistake as the demolition process introduces asbestos dust into the air, which can be incredibly damaging to your lungs. It is strongly suggested that you have professionals do the removal since they are familiar with EPA guidelines on how to do it safely.

There may be a better option than removal. A new trend in asbestos treatments is to encapsulate the offending materials in a structure. As the names suggests, the asbestos is not removed but is instead covered in another material. Why go with this approach? There are two reasons. First, this approach is much less likely to introduce asbestos to the air since there is no demolition to speak of. Second, asbestos is a great fire retardant notwithstanding the health issues. Encapsulating the asbestos gets rid of the health risks, but still allows the structure to benefit from the positives of the material. It is a win-win if you will.

Is asbestos a risk in older homes and buildings? It really depends on the state of the structure and only testing can really give you an answer. Assuming it does, encapsulating the asbestos may be your best option.

Thomas Ajava writes about the hazards of occupying asbestos buildings for HazardsofOccupyingAsbestosBuildings.com.


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