Asbestos Peril in Home: Risks and Ways to Deal with Them
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction projects in the residential sector. It was not until much later that we discovered it can cause a variety of health issues. So, despite being banned around the world today, it found its hideout in many homes. The difficulty is that asbestos operates as a silent assassin that is impossible to detect using our senses. It remains hidden under the surface until you decide to disturb it. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to take preventive measures, test your home for asbestos, and safely dispose of it.
A widespread plight
Asbestos used to be the darling of the construction industry due to its versatility and sturdiness. This material has, among other things, excellent flame retardant and insulation properties. It saw more than 3000 applications across the globe. Those who are at most risk are the people who had their houses build or renovated prior to the mid-’80s. The peak use was between the ‘40s and the ’70s and it led to the proliferation of a wide array of materials that have asbestos encapsulated in them.
For instance, despite the total asbestos ban back in 2003, it is estimated that one-third of Australian homes still contain asbestos products. More than a million of them were built using asbestos wall sheeting. But, asbestos can also be present in fibro, weatherboard, brick, and clan construction. Thus, it’s no surprise that so many people use professional services for asbestos air monitoring in Sydney and other major cities.
Health risks os Asbestos
It is crucial to note that there is no such thing as a safe level of asbestos exposure. Namely, asbestos, when inhaled into the lungs, damages the tissue quickly. It is a deadly carcinogen that induces asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma (a disease that has no cure to this date). A standard dust mask cannot keep asbestos at bay. So, be very careful if you want to damage or remove materials in your home.
The trickiest thing is that asbestos can lay dormant under tiles and other materials and thus fly under your radar. It becomes a problem when it is disturbed during renovation processes or any cutting, drilling, scraping, etc. This is to say that the exposure ensues when particles and fibers of asbestos are set airborne and breathed. To make it worse, asbestos can remain in the air for a long time as it does not break down naturally. It is also invisible to the naked eye.
Doing away with the adversary
So, you cannot really tell whether your home is plagued by asbestos or not. It also does not help that most home inspections do not include asbestos testing. But, there is no need to panic. You are not without tools to preserve your health and well-being. Legally, you are allowed to remove small amounts of bonded asbestos yourself. However, if you want to stay on the safe side, let professionals handle the work and test the samples from materials.
Thus, carry out a research to find an industrial hygienist, removalists, or environmental lab. The evaluation process should include multiple samples, sometimes around a dozen. After acquiring data, contractors usually provide a protocol for safely getting rid of asbestos. It might bring about extra spending, but asbestos testing should be an integral part of due diligence when buying and renovating the house. On the other hand, owners of new homes have no need to test for asbestos.
Zero tolerance policy
Asbestos is an elusive and dangerous menace that is hard to inspect or gauge. It might be a good idea to assume the worst and do the testing before you start swinging the sledgehammer. Yes, asbestos is perilous and deadly only when disturbed, but it is also powerless against the professional removal process. There is no point in hoping for the best and simply leaving asbestos alone. Laws differ depending on where you live, so do your homework. Follow regulations and take safety precautions. Banish this hazardous presence for good.