How often do you consider the hazards that could be present within your own home? Gases and substances like radon, carbon monoxide, lead paint, and mold continue to plague homes across the country and the world alike. These hazards can cause serious, ongoing health issues for the people exposed. In order to prevent future exposure to you and your loved ones, education on these dangers is paramount.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is just one substance among these home hazards which can pose a great risk to your general health. Used for its fire and chemical resistant properties, asbestos was once touted as a “miracle mineral.” Until the 1980s, the repercussions of using asbestos were generally unknown. Because of this, thousands of people have faced asbestos exposure and continue to do so to this day.
Asbestos is classified as a group of six naturally occurring silicate minerals. Due to its fibrous makeup, asbestos can easily become disturbed which, in turn, releases these fibers into the air. Once inhaled, these microscopic fibers become embedded within the linings and tissues of internal organs. Over time, these fibers cause both inflammation and scarring. This scarring is what eventually leads to the development of mesothelioma and other deadly cancerous tumors.
To this day, it isn’t uncommon to find asbestos lurking in older homes across the country. Since it was used in various products for fireproofing and insulation, it may be hiding in areas left generally unchecked. Fortunately for most, the material does not pose any immediate risk unless it has been disturbed. But due to the nature of older homes, it is only a matter of time before the infrastructure begins to break down.
What if you have Asbestos in your home?
If you happen to find asbestos within your home, you should ensure that it is properly abated. Unfortunately, abatement can be a tricky process at times. With materials such as flooring, it can be difficult to recognize if they contain asbestos due to the microscopic nature of the fibers. However, certain factors help identify asbestos tiles including the installation date, the materials and adhesives used, and the size and appearance of the tiles. Square floor tiles installed between 1920 and 1980 are most likely to contain asbestos. Ceiling tiles with asbestos were often square or rectangular; they can be identified by the trademark pinhole markings and powdery appearance.
Since any amount of asbestos whatsoever is dangerous, abatement of asbestos should only be conducted by a professional. Additionally, they can ensure the material be properly disposed of in accordance with strict state and federal guidelines. Before deciding on which company to work with, homeowners should do some research. After receiving a few bids from abatement companies and choosing the one that works best for you, the contractors picked should provide a detailed work plan. It should highlight information such as the methods that will be used to clean the area.
Sometimes, if the tiles are in good condition, encapsulation may be an option instead of removal. Encapsulation refers to covering the existing asbestos tiles with carpeting, other tiles, or even wood to prevent fibers from becoming airborne. Encapsulation may also be an option for asbestos ceiling tiles as well. It should be noted that encapsulation is not always a long-term solution. While intact tiles often do not pose a threat to health, disturbance or degradation can still cause the asbestos to become airborne.
Asbestos poses a health risk to everyone exposed, and the only way to truly prevent further exposure is through education. If you suspect there may be asbestos harbored in your home, professional contractors are there to help you and your loved ones get back to living safer lives.