Potential Areas in the Home for Asbestos and Removal

Below is a brief article about asbestos, courtesy of the Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com. I have included it as a resource on the topic for a better understanding if or when you come across it in your home…

If you live in a home that was built before the 1980s, it is likely that you live in a house that contains asbestos.

While asbestos lying dormant in your home may not pose a current health risk to your or your family, it can if it is disturbed. Once asbestos is moved, broken apart or destroyed, its tiny fibers can be inhaled or ingested – and that can place you at high risk for asbestos related cancers such as mesothelioma cancer.

Before asbestos was regulated in the United States, it was used in hundreds of different construction materials. Several companies, including Johns-Manville and Owens Corning Fibreboard Corporation, based their entire product lines on asbestos.

The material was renowned for its excellent insulating ability, and asbestos was incorporated into many common construction products. Those included:

  • Roofing materials (felt and shingles)
  • Textured paints
  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Caulking and adhesives
  • Attic insulation (especially Zonolite brand)
  • Exterior siding
  • Cement pipes

Structural renovations, removing/installing appliances and accidental damage can all disturb asbestos, making it friable and posing an exposure threat. If you live in a house that is at least 30 years old, some of these products are probably in the house structure somewhere.

What to Do about Asbestos in Your Home

Although asbestos cannot be visually identified by the untrained eye, if you suspect that there is asbestos in the home, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself and other people in your family.

A licensed asbestos abatement company can send a trained asbestos professional to your house to identify potentially contaminated areas. The professional can prepare the area for testing, remove a small sample and send the materials to a specifically-designated laboratory for testing.

Homeowners are typically advised not to take samples due to the risk factors. The special training abatement professionals undergoes while earning certification enables them to take samples without loosening additional fibers, ones that may pose a health threat.

If asbestos is found in your house, it is much safer to leave it alone if it is not friable (able to be broken apart by hand) and if you have no plans to disturb it through home renovations. Remedying nonfriable asbestos can create an unnecessary asbestos hazard.

However, friable asbestos or asbestos in materials that are about to be renovated should be sealed off (encapsulated) or covered. These repairs can help keep the asbestos from entering your breathing space.

A licensed asbestos removal company should always perform these major repairs. To learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family from asbestos in your home, please review the EPA’s guidelines.

For more information on this topic, contact the Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com