Asbestos was once a widely-used material in construction until around the 1970s, when researchers discovered the health hazards that come with it. After that, many home and property owners decided to have their buildings treated to completely eliminate asbestos.
Where Can You Usually Find Asbestos At Home?
Asbestos in homes usually comes in two forms: firmly or loosely bound (friable). Older homes usually had firmly bound asbestos in the following parts:
- Exterior fiber cement cladding
- Corrugated cement roofing
- Cement tile underlay, eave linings, bathroom linings
- Architectural cement pipe columns
- Flue pipes
- Vinyl tiles or coverings
- Textured paint
Loosely bound asbestos, on the other hand, was used very rarely in home settings. If ever they were, they’re usually found in home insulation materials (e.g. stoves, old domestic heaters, hot water pipes, and ceiling insulation).
Here’s a quick guide on how to determine whether your home is likely to have asbestos-filled products:
- Houses built prior to mid-1980s: Very likely to have asbestos
- Houses built between mid-1980s and 1990: May have asbestos
- Houses built after 1990: Unlikely to have asbestos
Just because your house is built recently, it doesn’t put you in the clear right away. That’s why it’s still important to have your house tested in case you suspect the presence of asbestos.
Removing Asbestos From Your Home: Why Is It Important?
The main reason why asbestos poses danger is because it can break down into microscopic-sized fibers. You can inhale these fibers without even knowing as these don’t make you sneeze or cough. These won’t also manifest in the form of skin irritations or sore throats.
In short, there’s simply no way to tell if the air you’re breathing is already filled with asbestos. Asbestos can make its way to the air when asbestos-filled products are disturbed, damaged, or unsafely removed. This is when it breaks into tiny, unnoticeable particles.
If you think there’s a possibility that asbestos is in your home environment, listed below are three reasons why you should have it removed as soon as possible:
1. Minimizes Health Risks
Prolonged exposure to asbestos, usually the kinds that span years (e.g. factory workers), increases your risks of acquiring several serious diseases, like lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. Though asbestos exposure commonly targets the lungs, it can also affect the digestive system and cause colon cancer.
The effects of asbestos exposure are not always immediate. Sometimes, it may take years or even decades for the symptoms of illnesses to finally show. Hence, if you want to keep yourself and your family healthy, make sure that your home is as asbestos-free as possible.
2. Keeps Your House Safe And Well-Maintained
Proper house maintenance involves more than just spring cleaning. It requires keeping every part of your house in great condition. Regular maintenance ensures that all parts of your house are up and running the way they should be.
However, in the event that your home maintenance measures reveal the possibility of asbestos contamination, make sure that you contact professionals right away. This ensures that your house remains safe to live in.
3. It May Be Required By The Law
In some areas, asbestos removal is strictly enforced by the law. This is usually the case if you’re dealing with an older home or building.
In such scenarios, the law will require you to schedule an asbestos test. Should asbestos be detected in your property, you’ll have to remove and decontaminate the area before you can move on with your plans.
Managing Asbestos Issues
Generally, asbestos-filled materials are harmless, but only if they’re well-maintained. The only way that these become a problem is when these contaminated materials get damaged. Hence, it’s important that you never skip on your inspection and maintenance schedules so you don’t put anyone at great risk.
If you suspect that asbestos may be in your house, it can either be repaired or removed. In both options, you must only consider enlisting the help of a professional, as they have the right tools and a complete set of protective equipment to properly deal with it.
Keep Yourself Protected From The Potential Health Hazards Of Asbestos
Asbestos-filled materials aren’t harmful per se, especially if you consistently make the effort to keep them in proper working order. However, if you think that asbestos may have already infiltrated the air within and around your home, never attempt to fix asbestos issues by yourself.
Remember, asbestos can be inhaled and remain undetected for a long time. Don’t expose yourself to even more risks by handling something that you’re not adequately equipped for. Make sure that you contact professionals immediately so they can solve such issues in a timely and appropriate manner.