Asbestos is a natural mineral made up of delicate and flexible fibers that are impervious to heat, electricity, and corrosion.
These qualities are what have made asbestos a “go-to” building material prior to society eventually figuring out how harmful it actually was.
If your home was built prior to 1987, you may be surprised as to where asbestos may have been used in your home.
It actually seems like an endless list of areas that it could have been found!
Even for seasoned pros,
the list may be a little shocking.
As an example, there is a good chance that those in the trades are very well aware that it has historically been utilized as insulation around various pipes, siding shingles, roof shingles, and vinyl floor tiles.
However, many veteran home improvement specialists may be stunned to know that asbestos has also been known to be found in gutters, fencing, carpet underlayment, and kitchen back splashes, just to name a few places!
Asbestos becomes hazardous when it is releasing dust or fibers into the air from it.
When it is intact, asbestos is generally not considered hazardous.
When it is in a form where it is able to be breathed in, this is where it can be extremely dangerous!
Once in the body, particularly once the asbestos dust/fibers have lodged themselves into someone’s lungs or body tissues, it is not able to be removed.
There are a number of health challenges that can result from taking asbestos particles into the body.
Asbestosis, Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma, and other Cancers can all stem from this type of scenario.
If you find yourself in a position where asbestos needs to be removed from your home for any reason, it is extremely important to have someone who is well-versed in asbestos removal come out to help you.
The consequences of not doing so can, literally, be life threatening by this potential slow, silent killer.
Unfortunately, one cannot tell if a material contains asbestos by simply looking at it (unless it is clearly labeled).
When in doubt, have an expert come out to work through a process for sampling the material to see if it contains asbestos.
The awkward, ironic challenge with this, of course, is that if the surface you are inquiring about does indeed contain asbestos, disturbing the surface to run even a tiny sample by a lab for analysis, could potentially put someone around it at more risk than if the surface was left alone to begin with.
If the asbestos material is in good shape, you probably should not mess with it at all (unless it really needs to be removed as part of a larger home renovation project – i.e. converting the exterior siding to wood shingle siding, etc.).
If the asbestos material is in dis-repair, it should probably either be repaired by an experienced authority or a professional methodology should be put in place to remove it entirely.
The decision as to what to do with possible asbestos at your home could certainly lead down a few different paths.
The most important thing to remember is to be sure to approach likely asbestos-containing material with respectful caution if the plan is to disturb the area in any way, shape, or form whatsoever.
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