Asbestos refers to a group of six, needle-like minerals that are naturally occurring and known to have adverse health effects on our body. It is a useful component in materials that are used in insulation and other industrial applications. However, studies have shown that asbestos exposure can actually lead to mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer which can affect the lungs and abdomen, as well as a variety of other health problems.
Where to Find Asbestos in Your Home
Asbestos was actually included in building materials due to its durability and high resistance to heat and chemicals from the 1930s to 1970s. This resulted in asbestos being widely used during home construction, especially in properties where the materials were likely to come into contact with heat for a prolonged period of time. Besides being widely used during home construction, it was also used as insulators in electrical products. Some of the common materials found at home that contain asbestos are:
- Ceiling tiles
- Cement sheets
- Cement roofing
- Pipe or duct insulation
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Vermiculite attic insulation
- Roof shingles or felt
You cannot identify whether or not a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it. However, there are clues that may hint toward the mineral presence in certain products. One hint would be the age of the home. The older the home, the more likely that materials containing asbestos were used during its construction. Newer homes are less likely to have asbestos, and homes that are constructed before 1980 are assumed to have contain the toxin somewhere.
Limit Asbestos Exposure at Home
It is important to bear in mind that anytime materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, you can be exposed to it. In the present, the risk of asbestos exposure is a growing concern due to the sheer number of older homes undergoing renovations and other remodeling projects. To ensure a piece of mind, a licensed professional should be involved to perform testing if you spot crumbling or clearly damaged materials in your home.
To sum up, materials that contain asbestos are considered safe as long as they are in good condition and are not damaged or disturbed. At any point in time, you should not attempt to remove asbestos on your own without engaging a professional to do so. Improper handling of the materials could potentially release fibers into the air which puts the health of others at risk.
Federal Asbestos Regulations
Federal regulations have managed to successfully reduce the asbestos amount used in construction and manufacturing from over 800,000 tons in 1973 to a few hundred tons today. However, the toxic chemical is still not banned in the United States. The general public health is still at high risk because people are still coming into contact with items or people who have asbestos.
How We Can Help
Other than hiring professionals like Iris Environment Laboratories to conduct testing and inspection for asbestos, you can do more to protect yourself and others from this dangerous product. If you live in an older home, you can check regularly for any damages. Contact us at 1800-908-6679 to find out more on our mold inspection services or fill up our online form to be contacted by our consultants.