Asbestos refers to a bundle of six minerals that can be made out into thin threads of fiber. These fibers are good insulators and resist electricity and heat efficiently. Because of this reason, asbestos had been widely used in various industrial and commercial applications. For example, asbestos fibers when mixed with plastics and cement were used for creating strong insulation, fireproofing, sound absorption and roofing.
Asbestos brought in huge business for construction and other industrial industries as the material provided many benefits. However, in the late 1980s, asbestos-based products were banned in the US because of their hazards for human health. While the selling of new products was banned, the products made before the 1980s could still be used.
Dangers Of Asbestos
While asbestos-based products don’t pose a health concern when left as is, the problem occurs after the fibers are disturbed.
When asbestos products undergo any kind of disturbance, the fibers become airborne and can settle in the human airways upon inhalation. There, they can accumulate and cause serious medical illnesses over the years. These include mesothelioma (a rare cancer of the lungs) and asbestosis (inflammation in the lungs.
Identifying Asbestos In Your Home
If your home was constructed before the 1980s, there’s a greater chance of the presence of asbestos in the floors, roofs, insulations and pipes.
More often than not, a visual inspection of your property is not sufficient enough to find if it has asbestos. Instead, you should collect samples of the suspected asbestos-based products and send it to a laboratory for tests.
Removing Asbestos From Your Home
The United States Environmental Protection Agency suggests these guidelines for homeowners who are looking for the removal of asbestos-based materials from their homes:
- Keep the asbestos-based materials wet during removal and transportation
- Asbestos cement should be removed with minimal disturbance
- Asbestos sheets should never be dropped but lowered on the floor
- Wear protective masks and disposable coveralls during asbestos work
- Never use air pressure hoses or power tools for removing asbestos
- Asbestos products should be properly wrapped in plastic and disposed of in plastic bins. The bins should be taped to prevent escaping of asbestos fibers.
- The asbestos products should be disposed of in an EPA-licensed landfill and waste stations.
While the EPA outlines comprehensive guidelines for the removal of asbestos from your home, consult professionals for the job to prevent health complications.