Asbestos is something a homeowner never wants to find. But if you’re worried about an infestation, the first (and safest) step is to have an asbestos inspection.
Asbestos was used as a popular construction material for decades. When used as a building material, asbestos is resistant to chemical and thermal degradation, making it a popular choice for home construction. Now, it is common for older buildings to contain insulation and fireproofing material that has asbestos. Currently, it is legal to produce household products with less than 1 percent asbestos, also increasing the chances of having an asbestos-containing product in your home.
Aside from property damage, exposure to asbestos causes serious health problems. Property Doctors of Colorado takes these health risks seriously, and is here to help homeowners with asbestos inspection and removal.
The Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos becomes hazardous when materials containing asbestos are damaged or disturbed. This disruption releases microscopic fibers and dust into the air that cause health problems when inhaled into the lungs. Exposure to asbestos can cause lung cancer, asbestosis (a chronic lung condition), and other types of cancer.
According to numbers from the World Health Organization, 125 million people are currently exposed to asbestos at their work. Potential exposure to asbestos should be taken seriously, not only to reduce potential property damage, but also to keep you and your friends and family safe.
Where you can find asbestos in the home
While recent laws have regulated the use of asbestos in products, older homes still have a risk of containing asbestos. If your home was created before the 1980s, some common places you might find asbestos include older:
- Hot water and steam pipes
- Insulation for coal and oil furnaces
- Cement roofing and siding shingles
- Floor and ceiling tiles (including vinyl flooring)
- Insulation around boilers, ducts, pipes, and fireplaces
- Sheetrock seams
- Stove-top pads
- Ashes and embers for gas-fired fireplaces
If you want to avoid asbestos in your home or business, make sure to check new products you purchase for asbestos. New insulation and construction materials can still contain one percent of asbestos. Asbestos can also be found in products like brake pads, roofing materials, and some potting soils. If you’re worried about property damage or health risks, make sure you avoid those asbestos-containing products.
Asbestos Inspection and Asbestos Removal
Since asbestos is hazardous when it gets into the air, homeowners need to be careful when dealing with asbestos inspection and removal. If you think you might have a hazardous amount of asbestos, Property Doctors will come to your home or business to perform an asbestos inspection. Make sure you find a company that has an asbestos abatement license to properly inspect your property for asbestos.
For homeowners wanting to remove asbestos themselves, there are many regulations surrounding asbestos removal and disposal. Before disturbing any material that may contain asbestos, it’s important to be prepared to handle this material safely:
- Use a respirator! Since most of the health risks come from inhalation, protect your nose and mouth for any air fibers.
- Wear a disposable coverall, gloves, rubber boots, and protective eyewear.
- Clear the area or room where you will be working, covering any furniture or materials that cannot be removed.
- Build a containment area to keep the asbestos particles in and other people out. This is best done with polyethylene sheeting.
- Cover the walls and floors surrounding the area where you will be removing asbestos.
- Place all contaminated material into an asbestos disposal bag, double-bagging before disposal.
- Dispose of every rag and cloth tool that was used for asbestos removal.
The last step is to dispose of the material. Landfills are required to have a specific permit authorizing them to dispose of asbestos and in Colorado, only certain landfills accept asbestos waste. Since asbestos-related health issues arise through inhalation of air particles, any materials that contain asbestos must be properly sealed. Then, give those removed asbestos products to a landfill that can properly dispose of the contaminated materials.
Unless you have an asbestos removal certification and experience handling asbestos, hire a professional. When it comes to property damage, Property Doctors of Colorado will take care of the entire process, from asbestos inspection to removal.