Although most people would agree that asbestos has a relatively poor reputation, numerous homeowners do not have a good foundation of knowledge about this particular substance. For example, they may not know exactly what it is or how they would tell if it was present in their home. It is also important for homeowners to know when they should be worried about asbestos. If you have been wondering about these things, the following information should clear up much of your confusion so that you can understand this mineral. It will also help you determine when you should test for its presence and what to do if it is found.
Initially, you should know that asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. Even though it is found globally, it appears most often in the United States, South Africa, and Canada. It has been used throughout history due to its heat-resistant properties. This is also why it was often used for manufacturing and installing flooring and drywall, and as insulation in commercial buildings, homes, schools and other structures.
You may be wondering why asbestos was suddenly deemed dangerous. Unfortunately, the reason for this is that even though the mineral was quite popular worldwide, some serious health hazards were discovered with regard to its use. For example, breathing asbestos fibers can lead to lung problems up to and including cancer and a rare lung disease called mesothelioma. This resulted in warnings from the federal government, as well as plans to lower the use of asbestos and educate the population concerning its potential threats. Not surprisingly, all this has resulted in quite a frenzy surrounding the mineral.
Knowing if Your Home Contains Asbestos
Asbestos was used in residential homes and commercial buildings before its potential health hazards were discovered. Therefore, most homes constructed prior to 1980 probably contain asbestos. Even some homes built after this time may contain this mineral. For this reason, it is probably a good idea to have your dwelling inspected by a professional to ensure that anything strange you notice in your attic or other areas of your home is actually asbestos and not merely a harmless substance. This is the best way to make sure no hidden dangers are lurking in your flooring, ceilings, drywall, or other areas of your home.
Does the Presence of Asbestos Automatically Present a Danger?
The answer to this question is a bit complicated, as not all types of asbestos are a cause for concern. This is because the substance is not easily categorized with a sweeping generality. There are numerous types of the mineral, and each one presents a specific risk, ranging from severe to quite minimal. For example, if amosite or crocidolite asbestos is present in your home, it may pose a danger if the particles are disturbed. On the other hand, chrysotile asbestos presents a lower risk to lung tissue, particularly if there is only intermittent or low-level exposure. Nevertheless, if you suspect that any type of asbestos is present in your home, you should speak to a professional to about asbestos testing.
Knowing When to Take Action Against Asbestos
As previously mentioned, some variations of asbestos are regarded as more dangerous than others; however, if you believe any type of the mineral is present in your dwelling, it is important to have it evaluated by a professional to find out if you are facing any health hazards. If the asbestos is located in a place where it has the potential to become airborne, it must be abated as soon as possible. Never try to rid your home of asbestos without the help of an expert, as this places you in danger. Rather, seek the help of an OSHA-certified expert to handle asbestos testing and remediation on your behalf.