Who Should Know How to Check for Asbestos?

by Cheney Hines

Asbestos is a very common building material that has been used in homes for many years. It is especially present in homes built before 1980, and can be found in everything from insulation to floor and ceiling tiles and even cement. It can become very dangerous if it dries and flakes. This can create fibers and particulates that can get into the air and can create many environmental and health problems.

How to Check for Asbestos

When asbestos becomes friable and escapes into the air, health concerns can surface. These issues often do not present until up to 30 years after initial exposure. This is because the fibers can hang in the air for lengthy periods of time and can remain in the body for years. Diseases from asbestos can include chronic respiratory ailments and even cancer.
It is important to note that not all asbestos poses a health risk. Only when it becomes dry and crumbles can it be a problem. In many cases, such as with ceiling and floor tiles, this will not be an issue, and these materials are often quite safe for the homeowner. In insulation, cement work and the like, however, asbestos can become brittle and pose health risks.

Identifying Asbestos

There are no “asbestos police” who come around and check homes for the material. As a homeowner, you are responsible for your health and safety and that of those who visit your home. This means you should keep an eye out for potential exposure. Often, contractors and people such as plumbers and carpenters can guess whether a material may contain asbestos. The only way to be sure, however, is to have suspect material tested by a lab.

Getting Samples

If you suspect a material may contain asbestos, you should secure the services of a qualified asbestos removal and abatement company. These professionals are trained experts in safely dealing with hazardous materials and can gather a sample without placing you or your loved ones in danger.
If you decide to remove friable materials yourself, make sure that you lightly wet them first, to help avoid releasing fibers. Only take a small sample and avoid breaking any more of the material than necessary. Use a small, clean container that tightly seals. Thoroughly clean the area with a wet towel. Wearing a mask to avoid inhaling fibers can also help.

Repair and Removal

If asbestos material is friable it should be removed from the home. You as a homeowner should never try to do this on your own. Always use a qualified asbestos removal service. Only a removal company knows how to take care of these issues without placing you, or others in your home, in danger.
Such professionals will have the ability to encapsulate, or seal the asbestos before removal so that it doesn’t get into the air. They can then safely remove and dispose of the offending material.
If you think you have asbestos in your home, call us today. We are happy to help.