Does your home contain asbestos? If it is older than 40 years, the answer may be yes. A naturally occurring mineral fiber, asbestos was once common in home building materials because it is fireproof. Asbestos was included in shingles, siding, insulation, and other home materials as a safety measure. However, research eventually revealed that breathing in asbestos fibers could cause lung cancer.
Since that time, building materials made from asbestos are no longer produced, and efforts have been made to remove asbestos from public buildings. However, older homes may still contain it. The most important thing to do if you think you have asbestos in your home is not to panic. Asbestos materials are not hazardous unless they are damaged or worn out because this allows the fibers to get into the air. Instead, follow these steps.
1. Know Where Asbestos Is Most Likely to Be
If there is asbestos in your home, some of the places where you are most likely to find it are in ceiling and floor tiles, textured paint, roof shingles, and cement. This is especially true if your home was built prior to the 1980s, when asbestos products were discontinued.
2. Perform Careful Inspections
Asbestos doesn’t pose a threat unless it is damaged or disturbed. If you believe there may be asbestos material in your home, keep an eye on it to make sure that it remains intact.
3. Keep Your Distance
While you should inspect any materials that you believe to be asbestos periodically for signs of damage, you should not handle the material or get up close to it. Leave it alone to the extent possible, and prevent other members of your family from handling or disturbing it. Any attempt to handle asbestos in your home could release fibers into the air, which is the last thing you want.
4. Take Care with Home Improvement
Any renovations to your home could potentially expose you to asbestos. Especially if you plan on doing the work yourself, consider the possibility of exposure when making your plans.
5. Get Professional Testing
It is difficult at best to confirm the presence of asbestos with a visual inspection alone. The best way to confirm what your instincts are telling you is with professional testing. An asbestos abatement contractor, like from Nielsen Environmental, can perform the necessary tests to confirm the presence of asbestos and remove it safely. Contact an office to discuss any suspicions you have or plans for renovation.