In the past, manufacturers frequently incorporated asbestos into many products. For example, building materials like insulation and roofing were made using asbestos due to its fire-resistant properties. Later, though, asbestos came under heavy scrutiny and was eventually heavily restricted by the US government starting in the late 1970s.
“However, builders and manufacturers were still allowed to use the rest of their supply, meaning homes built as late as 1986 may still contain asbestos,” says Penn Medicine. “Reports show that up to 30 million homes and commercial buildings consist of some form of asbestos-containing material. The daunting process of asbestos abatement and removal is now a multi-billion dollar industry.”
What makes asbestos so dangerous? What are asbestos testing and abatement? When and how should asbestos abatement be done? Air Quality Inc. is here with the details.
Health Problems Related to Asbestos
Asbestos is a known carcinogen. Inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers can lead to severe health problems, especially for people who experience heavy exposure over an extended period.
Health problems related to asbestos include asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and several other diseases.
“Around 3,000 Americans receive a mesothelioma diagnosis every year. About 90% of mesothelioma cases are due to asbestos exposure,” says Cleveland Clinic. “Of all the conditions caused by asbestos, asbestos-related lung cancer causes the most deaths, followed by mesothelioma.”
Given the health risks related to asbestos, it’s essential to take steps to avoid exposure. How can you find out if your home has an asbestos problem?
Testing for Asbestos
The first step to asbestos abatement is identifying whether or not your home has an asbestos problem. Professional asbestos testing can help you assess the quality of your indoor air.
“If you live in an older home, it might contain asbestos-containing insulation or other materials,” advises the American Cancer Society. “A knowledgeable expert can check your home to determine if there is any asbestos and if it poses any risk of exposure. This may involve testing the air for asbestos levels.”
Don’t hesitate to get professional indoor air quality testing if you suspect your home exposes you and your family to asbestos. The sooner you identify the problem, the sooner you can begin asbestos abatement.
Asbestos abatement is the process of ensuring products containing asbestos are either safely removed from a building or working to reduce the potential of the products releasing fibers into the air.
Handling an asbestos problem should never be a DIY project. The removal or repair of construction materials containing asbestos must be done by a licensed professional who will adhere to strict federal guidelines throughout the process.
If the building materials containing asbestos are in good repair and have not been damaged, it’s best to leave them alone since trying to remove them could pose a more significant threat than leaving them undisturbed.
If, however, the asbestos-containing product is in disrepair or you plan to renovate an area of your home that has materials with asbestos, it’s crucial to enlist the services of an asbestos abatement contractor. These professionals will follow a series of steps to ensure that the removal of asbestos products can be done with as little risk as possible.