Asbestos (mountain flax) can bring real horror to the occupants of a home where it is found . This extremely dangerous material has been linked to all kinds of health problems, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and chronic respiratory disease.
This is a really serious problem, especially for homes built before 1979, where there is a high probability of this substance hiding somewhere in the insulation.
Homeowners are often unaware that there is asbestos somewhere indoors. This substance can lurk in various building materials for a long time, and occupants may become aware of its existence after they have been exposed to it.
The cost of asbestos removal at home
There is no quick and cheap way to remove asbestos from your home. Only a professional asbestos abatement contractor trained in asbestos removal techniques and particle containment can accomplish this task.
At rest, asbestos fibers get into products and products and usually pose no health hazard. But when the material around them breaks down, the fibers end up in the air and can enter the lungs, decades later causing a disease such as mesothelioma.
Because asbestos exposure is a serious threat, homeowners should be aware of where the substance may be hiding and how contractors act when removing it to prevent the spread of fibers.
Where asbestos lurks
Asbestos is a term that describes six types of natural minerals: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite. The substance was once popular for its strength, heat resistance, and insulating properties.
From the beginning of the industrial revolution in the early 1800s until it was banned in a number of products in 1978, asbestos was used to create many products, from refractory materials to gaskets and cigarette filters.
In older homes, asbestos-containing materials can still be hidden in the following places:
- insulation around pipes and boilers, in attics and between walls;
- insulation around hot water pipes;
- decorative-acoustic plaster;
- cement coatings and asbestos cement;
- textured ceilings;
- fire curtains and doors;
- caulk, putties and joints;
- adhesives, including floor tile products and tape on some brands;
- walls, siding, roofing materials and felt;
- vinyl floor tiles;
- other dusty products containing asbestos.
By 1978, many materials containing asbestos were banned. However, the substance did not fall under a total ban and is still used in the manufacture of such materials as:
- cement corrugated sheeting;
- roofing felt and coatings;
- some floor tiles;
- cement shingles.
Homeowners are usually convinced that this hazardous material is completely banned, and are therefore surprised to learn that asbestos can still lurk in their homes and threaten the health of their families. And finding out about its presence in materials is difficult because they have no such labeling requirements.
How to detect asbestos fibers in the home
The best way to find out if there is asbestos in the home is to hire a special inspector. During the job, inspectors collect samples for lab analysis, evaluate the asbestos material, and suggest appropriate action.
In order not just to remove asbestos, but also to prevent its fibers from spreading through the house, inspectors need to perform a number of actions:
- Insulate the material with a strong, airtight material to prevent damage.
- The asbestos material is sprayed with a sealant that temporarily traps the fibers.
- Small damaged areas, such as breaks in pipe insulation, are repaired.
- Inspectors completely cover the work area and clean it with a special asbestos vacuum cleaner. All air ducts and vents are insulated, and the material is filled with moisture to avoid particles getting into the air. When the work is complete, the asbestos is disposed of at a landfill designated for the hazardous substance.
What the homeowner can do
To reduce your body’s exposure to asbestos, the homeowner should follow a series of recommendations and prohibitions:
- you should minimize your activities and keep children away from areas with damaged asbestos-containing materials;
- Do not wipe, sweep, or pick up asbestos-containing materials;
- Do not make even minor repairs related to insulation;
- it is safer to replace the tiles than to try to remove asbestos from the flooring.
If there are concerns or problems related to asbestos, you should contact specialty organizations that will send a professional to your home. But by no means should you take action on your own.