Asbestos Testing - Should You Do It?
Mention asbestos and it is likely to elicit a reaction of dread from people. But what is it really and why does it receive such a bad rap.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral silicate material that can be formed into a fibrous and fluffy consistency. It was used in many applications and was once a common construction material. It was particularly useful as insulation material.
Prior to 1980, asbestos was widely utilized in building materials because of its high tensile strength and its chemical and thermal stability. It was mixed into other materials such as cloth, paper, cement or plastic to make them stronger.
Why is Asbestos a Health Hazard?
When people are exposed to asbestos, microscopic fibers of the material can become trapped in the body. Unlike other materials which can be absorbed by the body and harmlessly expelled, asbestos does not get absorbed, dissolved, nor expelled.
Over the years, asbestos fibers trapped in the body cause inflammation and scarring. Eventually, this causes genetic damage to the body’s cells.
What is even more dangerous is that exposure to this potentially deadly material does not cause any immediate symptoms. Precisely because they are microscopic, fibers cannot be seen or even smelled or tasted.
Therefore, a person may have already ingested or inhaled asbestos dust or fibers without realizing it.
Asbestos affects the lungs when fibers accumulate in the tissues and in the pleura, the membrane lining the lungs. Fibers can also be lodged in the abdominal cavity when ingested. Among the conditions caused by long time asbestos exposure include these:
Asbestosis - a chronic disease marked by scarring in the lungs. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, and chest tightness. Complications can lead to lung cancer, pulmonary heart disease and mesothelioma
Pleuritis - also known as Pleurisy is a condition that affects the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the chest cavity. This condition is marked by sharp chest pain that worsens during breathing.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) - is a term used to describe a number of progressive lung conditions, all characterized by increasing breathlessness. This includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and non-reversible asthma.
Pleural mesothelioma - cancer that affects the pleura
Peritoneal mesothelioma - cancer that affects the lining of the stomach
Can Your Home Have Asbestos?
Use of asbestos in building materials made in the United States has been banned, but was still pretty much the practice through the mid 1980's. So these dangerous materials are still found in houses and apartment buildings throughout the US.
Here are common materials found in older homes that may contain asbestos:
Cement roofing and siding shingles
Artificial ashes and embers used in gas-fired fireplaces
Some kinds of vinyl floor tiles as well as backing for vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
For homes built between 1930 and 1950, house insulation
Walls and floors found around wood burning stoves may have asbestos paper, millboard or cement sheets lining them
Hot water heaters, steam pipes and boilers found in older houses may have asbestos material or may be covered with asbestos tape or blanket
Textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints
Door gaskets in furnaces, wood stoves and coal stoves. The worn seals can release asbestos fibers during use
If you own an older home, built prior 1988, it is highly possible that some building materials used contain asbestos. Its presence does not necessarily make your home a health hazard. So long as the material is undisturbed and undamaged, it remains dormant.
However, the situation drastically changes if your home has experienced wind, rain or storm damage. Asbestos can deteriorate and become dry and crumbly when it experiences damage.
When asbestos turns into powder, fibers become airborne and it is at this point that you and your family are at serious risk.
When faced with damaged materials or when planning to do work on your home, it is recommended to have asbestos testing done if you own a home that is older than 30 years.
It may feel like an extra step but it is a necessary precaution that can save you and your family from serious health problems.
Limit Your Asbestos Exposure
Here is a crucial thing to remember - There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos!
If you are planning to renovate, whether it’s to replace damaged parts or to upgrade your home, it is important to take precautions. Renovation work involves sanding, cutting and scraping than can cause dust and consequently, asbestos fibers to travel through your entire home.
This puts anyone who inhales or ingests these fibers at risk of developing debilitating asbestos related diseases.
Before undertaking any repair or remodelling, have your home go through asbestos testing to ensure safety. And definitely call professionals to do the job of repairing or removing asbestos containing materials from your home.
Asbestos testing kits can be purchased from home improvement centers or online to help you determine if your home is vulnerable. The kit contains sample bags for each type of material that is used in your home.
There are laboratories that test these samples and results are sent back to you after a week or two.
If results are positive or if they are inconclusive, the next step is to call a restoration company that specializes in safely removing asbestos.
While you can do asbestos testing on your own using a kit, homeowners should definitely never attempt to repair or remove asbestos themselves. This is not the time to D-I-Y as your family’s health is at stake.
If you are unsure what needs to be tested or simply uncomfortable doing it yourself, there are many environmental testing companies that can provide this service for you.
Home Restoration - Call Us Today
If you have experienced water damage or mold damage and your home is an older home, call on the professionals to help you deal with it safely. FIVE STAR RESTORATION is a top rated restoration company with a highly qualified team of technicians. Take a look at what our customers say
We offer the best water damage and mold repair services for both residential and commercial clients.
We work quickly to dry out the affected area in your home (or office), and if necessary, take out affected materials safely. This is a critical step, especially if there is asbestos or lead in your home.
As an experienced restoration company, we take the utmost precaution when dealing with an asbestos situation. When you call us to help, we make sure that the affected area in your home or building is not only completely dried out but is safe for occupancy again.
FIVE STAR RESTORATION goes beyond this. We also help you with your insurance claim, working directly with the insurance adjuster to make the process as stress free for you as possible.
Call us today for a quick response. We have technicians on standby 24/7 to respond to emergencies. Call us at 951-368-2227 or chat live through our website at www.team5starrestore.com.
Tags: Asbestos Testing, do you need asbestos testing, asbestos, asbestos and health