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Archive for June 2017

asbestos-home-renovations-what-you-need-to-know

Asbestos & Home Renovations: What You Need to Know

asbestos-home-renovations-what-you-need-to-knowStarting any renovation project on your home can be an exciting adventure. However, it could also pose a serious threat to your health if you’re unsure of whether or not there may be asbestos in your home.

Because the primary health risks occur when tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air, a DIY home renovation project can quickly turn into a dangerous situation if you’re not careful. Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle this problem on your own. Here is some important information about asbestos and home renovations and what you can do if you need help detecting and testing for asbestos materials.

Understanding the Risk of Asbestos in the Home

As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and that is certainly true when dealing with materials that could potentially contain asbestos, which can be very hazardous to your health. So before you dig into a home renovation project, you’ll want to assess the likelihood that your house contains asbestos materials so that you can take the necessary precautions.

Some telltale signs that may indicate the presence of asbestos in your home include:

  • The structure was built before 1980
  • Your home contains old floor tiles, laminate, cement sheet, pipe cement or original roof shingles
  • Your older home has never been professionally renovated before

While looking for these signs and types of materials is a good place to start, the only way to know for sure if your home contains asbestos is to have a professional perform an asbestos test on any suspected areas of your home. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that you can do on your own, because asbestos is impossible to detect with the naked eye and you could create a larger risk while searching for asbestos-containing materials than just leaving them alone and calling in a professional.

Treat All Materials Like They Contain Asbestos

If you’ve already started your renovation project and have come across materials that you think could contain asbestos, the best approach is to treat all suspected materials as though they have already tested positive for asbestos. This means that you should discontinue all demolition efforts and leave those materials as undisturbed as possible. This will help to reduce the risk that harmful asbestos particles could be released into the air.

Find an Asbestos Testing Lab

The next step is to find an asbestos testing lab so that you can know for sure if you need to hire a team of professionals to remove it before safely continuing with your renovation project.

In order to test for asbestos, a certified and trained professional will inspect your home for asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), as well as perform an air quality test. Then, the samples that were collected from your home will be sent off to a laboratory for testing. You will then be notified of the results of these tests.

How to Get Rid of Asbestos

At this point, many homeowners often wonder if taking on asbestos removal themselves is an option. Since breathing in the asbestos particles that will be released during the removal process is what makes this substance so dangerous, you should always rely on a reputable asbestos remediation company to do this for you.

Once the ACMs have been removed from your house, an asbestos testing company will need to return to perform what’s called a clearance air test to make sure that there are no longer asbestos particles inside your home. After this final test comes back showing no signs of asbestos, you’ll have the green light to move full speed ahead on your renovations!

Want to learn more about how Iris Labs can help you with your construction or renovation project? CONTACT US TODAY 

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5 health risks caused by asbestos

5 Health Risks Caused By Asbestos

5 health risks caused by asbestosAsbestos is a building material that was used pretty widely across the U.S. prior to the 1980s. It was then that asbestos was thought of as a solution to various industries to help build homes. However, there are health risks caused by asbestos. 

Asbestos is a group of naturally-occurring fibrous minerals. It’s strong and heat resistant. This made is popular in building materials such as including building and pipe insulation, and friction products.

It wasn’t until after years of use that it was deemed seriously dangerous, even deadly to those exposed to it. Asbestos is a serious health risk and can cause harm. If you think you might have been exposed to asbestos or live in a home where you suspect asbestos, read this article to learn 5 health risks caused by asbestos.

Health Risks Caused By Asbestos

Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer is cancer of the larynx, also known as the voice box. Researchers have suspected that people who inhaled asbestos got it’s fibers lodged into the voice making its way to the lungs. The fibers cause irritation which eventually lead to cancer.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a lung disease that is said to be caused by scarring of the lung tissue. Exposure the asbestos can cause a person to breath in the dangerous fibers. The fibers will attach themselves to the lung walls and over time cause scarring. Over time the lungs will become irritated and the tissue becomes thick. This can be painful causing chest pains and shortness of breath.

Clubbed Fingers

People with asbestosis often develop clubbed fingers. This is actually an early sign of the disease where the tips of the fingers are swollen and look like a square shape. This happens when there is a dangerously low blood levels of oxygen.

Pleural Plaques

Pleural plaques are caused by deposits of fiberglass and rock left from the asbestos. The pleura contains two layers: An inner layer that lines the lungs, and an outer layer that lines the ribs. The presence of asbestos fibers can cause these layers to inflame and rub against each other, a condition called pleuritis. Unfortunately there is no cure for this disease and serious medication is required for treatment.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, it affects the inner linings of organ walls in the chest and the stomach. Typically this is caused to exposure to asbestos is the work place, but you may not notice symptoms until years later, sometimes as late as 30 years past the time of exposure.  To date there is no cure for this disease.

Avoiding Asbestos Exposure

Since asbestos is banned from use, newer homes may not be in danger of containing any remnant of the substance. However, it is important to keep away from asbestos if you suspect it in your home or workplace. There are safety procedures set in place to evaluate the area in question and do proper asbestos testing. From there it’s important to understand the information on asbestos give from the testing lab. Once this is given talk to a professional about whether the asbestos needs to be removed and if it is a threat to your health.

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5 Asbestos Facts You Didn’t Know

5 Asbestos Facts You Didn’t KnowBecause of its fire- and water-resistant properties, asbestos has long been used as a versatile building material. It was commonly used in homes, schools, and other structures until fairly recently when its serious health hazards came to light. Now, home inspectors check for asbestos before a sale is able to go through.

If you’re concerned that your home might contain this material, which could be putting you and your family at risk, here is some information  that could help.

1. Asbestos Was a Popular Building Material Until the 1980s

The dangers include an increased risk for lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses such as asbestosis, were largely unknown to the public until the 1980s. As a result, homes built before this period have a higher likelihood of contamination.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to have your home inspected, especially if you’re planning on remodeling any part of your home, which could release dangerous asbestos fibers into the air.

2. Not All Asbestos-Containing Products Are Banned in the U.S.

Despite the fact that the health hazards of asbestos are now widely recognized, not all materials that contain it have been banned in the United States. This means that even new construction could potentially contain asbestos.

According to the EPA, just some of the asbestos-containing materials that are currently not banned in the U.S. include:

  • Cement sheet
  • Roofing felt and roof coatings
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Cement shingle and pipe
  • Millboard

3. Asbestos Poses a Health Risk When Inhaled or Ingested

Asbestos becomes dangerous when its dust particles are released into the air, where they can be easily inhaled or ingested. Because of this, many people are unaware that they have been exposed to it at all.

Before you begin a home renovation or DIY remodeling project, get your home assessed  to make sure you’re not unknowing putting yourself and your family at risk.

Keep in mind, too, that even drilling, sanding, or pressure-washing materials that contain asbestos could potentially release the harmful fibers into the air, so it’s important to know for sure whether or not your home contains this material before moving forward with a project.

4. Asbestos Can Be Difficult to Detect

Another reason it can be such a challenging problem for homeowners is that it is often difficult or even impossible to detect by simply visually inspecting your home. This is because the fibers that cause these health risks are generally too small to see with the naked eye.

Additionally, because so many different building materials could possibly contain asbestos, there’s no surefire way to tell whether or not you might be at risk by simply performing a self-evaluation of the building. If you’re unsure about the presence of asbestos in any part of your home, it’s better to play it safe and have samples professionally tested.

5. Only a Licensed Professional Should Assess and Remove Asbestos

If lab tests come back showing that your home does contain asbestos, the next step is to take steps to safely remediate it. Attempting to remove asbestos from your home yourself, however, can be much more dangerous than just leaving it alone. If you have an asbestos problem, the best way to get rid of it is to rely on trained and certified professionals who can safely and effectively remove it.

Then, once you’ve called in the professionals, it’s a good idea to have the air quality of your home retested to make sure that all traces of asbestos are gone to give you the peace of mind that you and your family are safe.

Want To Know More Facts?

If you still have questions about asbestos take a look at our FAQ page for more information. If you still can’t find the answers you’re looking for, feel free to contact us online or give us a call at (908) 206-0073 and one of our friendly team members would be happy to help you.

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