What Homeowners should know about Asbestos
Posted in Asbestos Removal, on August 08, 2014
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural fibre material which was greatly used as a building material before the 1990’s. Today it is prohibited for use in Canada and in many parts of the world due to its immense health hazards. If your property was built before 1990 most likely you have Asbestos.
It was greatly used as an insulator due to its good fire protection and resistance to chemical erosion as well as its tensile strength. It can be found in many areas such as on beams, ceilings and walls as a fireproof spray; on boilers, tanks and pipes as mechanical insulation; on linoleum floors or tiles; drywall taping and vermiculite insulation in attics; on cement boards, tiles or pipes on the outside of a building or even as a decorative and textured finish on walls and ceilings.
Health Risks of Asbestos
Many people are not even aware that they are living with asbestos but its presence can cause adverse effects on their health. There have been many links of asbestos and cancer. Although if left alone asbestos does not pose an immediate health risk but if inhaled due to release of fibres in the air it has been proved as a direct cause of asbestosis which is scarring of the lungs making breathing difficult and/or cancer both mesothelioma (cancer of the chest or abdominal lining) or lung.
If you believe you live in an environment with asbestos you should not handle it on your own but rather call a professional to have it removed. If you must come to contact with it you should use the proper precaution to minimize your health risks. Such precautions include wearing protective gear such as face masks to minimize inhalation of the fibres; sealing off the work area; reducing dust by wetting all work material; if possible do not cut, break or damage the material to not cause further spread of fibres; always clean the work area with a damp cloth never use a vacuum in order to not spread the fibres; place all garbage in a bag and seal well before disposing of and remember to check with your municipality regarding disposal rules and regulations. Wash hands, body and clothing well each time after handling contacted materials. There are a few locations that asbestos may lie in any residential homes. The most common locations reside in the insulation in the attic, due to the durability of the product and its high fire resistant’s capabilities. The second highest commonly found location is around pipes, as asbestos was mixed in with insulation while keeping pipes.
Since asbestos might not always be easily visible, therefore for old attic insulations, it is recommended that you always call a professionally certified inspector to have it properly identified and perform a safe asbestos insulation removal for your property. A professional will have the proper gear and training to handle the job properly while taking into consideration all health and safety precautions leaving everyone around as healthy as can be. Never attempt to remove these materials on your own. You can rest assured that if you take the right professional to inspect your property you will not have to fear living with asbestos. Don’t let asbestos stop you from living but rather stop it from living with you.