You may not know this, but there is a chance that your house contains asbestos. People often get alarmed when they learn this, and for a good reason. The risk of asbestos exposure is not something that you take likely. After all, asbestos exposure was linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma and other types of lung diseases.
The average American will spend on third of his/her life inside the house, so it’s important that the house and air inside is safe.
Many potential home owners, before committing to a purchase, want to know if their house has asbestos in it. If you’re one of them, here are few things you should know about risk of asbestos exposure and asbestos in general.
Where is asbestos most commonly found?
Asbestos is actually a natural mineral that is mined from the early. It has excellent fire-resistant properties and it was a valuable and inexpensive building material when building houses or commercial buildings. It was used a lot in the past, but mostly between the 1940s and 1970s.
During that time, asbestos was put in various building elements/materials, such as:
- Cement siding
- Floor tiles
- Glues etc.
Not all building materials with asbestos are equally dangerous. Some are more harmful than others. For example, the insulation that was used in the attic poses a much higher risk of asbestos exposure than various glues.
The material found in this insulation can easily aerosolize, exposing not just workers that are installing the insulation but also you and your family. Before, people used to test homes for asbestos but those test, at the time, were prover unreliable, so it was safer to assume that asbestos was present.
Why is risk of asbestos exposure so important?
Asbestos is made from tiny abrasive fibers that are very light, very sharp and can easily be inhaled. Once inhaled, these tiny fibers can damage the lung tissue, causing all sorts of problems. This is why it’s important to know the basics of asbestos-containing materials in your home and whether or not there is a risk of asbestos exposure.
For example, if some of the building materials in your home are friable and can get damages, then asbestos fibers can easily be aerosolized and become air-borne. But if the building material doesn’t get damages, the asbestos particles will stay encapsulated and there will be no health risk.
How can you know if you have asbestos in your home?
Let’s say, for example, that you’re interested in buying a house that is older than 1980s. With a property like this, it is safe to assume that there’s asbestos. This is very important if you plan on doing some major renovation once you’ve purchased the house. In this case, you will need to do asbestos testing.
However, if you’re not looking to making any major renovation on your new home, then you most likely won’t be doing asbestos testing. But just to be on the safe side from risk of asbestos exposure, you should do a thorough inspection and see if any of the materials possibly containing asbestos are damaged.
There are other things that need to be considered about risk from asbestos exposure, and we will discus those in our next post. Stay tuned!