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Detecting asbestos in the home

Recent studies have found asbestos to be potentially lethal to human health. In fact, a number of fatalities caused by respiratory diseases were attributed to asbestos exposure. It is due to this discovery that regulations on handling asbestos have been enforced to prevent further casualties.

While the mere presence of asbestos do not immediately inflict harm on people, the risk of being exposed to its fibers is a danger to great to discount. Because asbestos was once widely integrated in building materials  as a strengthening agent, the presence of asbestos in the home is a concern for many homeowners today. 

Houses built before the 1990s are more likely constructed from asbestos-laden materials. For homeowners looking to renovate their homes, it is best to confirm the presence of asbestos before embarking on any major home improvement project. Below is a list of some potential sources of asbestos in the home. 

SURFACES

Walls and closed decks that resemble a thick gray cardboard may contain asbestos. In the past exterior surfaces were sometimes made with a fire retardant sheeting in the form of asbestos paper. It is not an immediate threat when left untarnished and in good condition but renovations or remodeling activities could release fibers in the process. It is best to seek the assistance of trained experts to remove the asbestos paper. 

In some cases, walls and ceiling surfaces may have been sprayed with asbestos-containing materials. In the event that the surface produces powder or dust by hand pressure, it is recommended to enlist the help of professionals prior to any further action. A sample may be sent to a lab for analysis, only then will a experts recommend the best course of action to take. 

INSULATION

Thermal insulation in older houses usually have loose blown-in and batt insulation that have been known to contain asbestos. This is usually detected in spaces that require protection from the temperatures outside. Common areas include walls, floor, attic or spaces between joists and rafters. These areas are generally safe when left untouched, renovation and repair work however calls for the attention of trained contractors. 

FLOOR COVERINGS

Building materials in the past was infused with asbestos to add to its strength and durability. Sheet vinyl, vinyl tile, and vinyl adhesive are examples of these asbestos-containing products. Like most parts of the home that contain asbestos, it is considered harmless unless damaged or remodeled. Should there be a need to replace or repair these flooring products, it is important to have as little contact as possible. The most convenient approach to damaged flooring is to directly place the new floor over the old one. Although, this means the asbestos remains inside the house. To completely eliminate the risk, it is best to have experts handle the asbestos-containing material. Ensure your professional has undergone HAZWOPER certification from OHSA-accredited institutions to avoid the possibly lethal consequences of asbestos exposure.