While asbestos has a really bad reputation, many Denver homeowners don’t really know that much about the stuff. What is it? How do you know if your home has it? And when should you be worried about it? In order to clear up any confusion, we’ve put together this simple guide to understanding asbestos, when to test for its presence, and what to do about it.
Asbestos: When to Test, When to Relax, and When to Take Action
What is Asbestos?
First things first… what in the world is asbestos anyway? Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. Although it can be found across the globe, it primarily comes from Canada, South Africa, and the U.S. This substance has been used throughout ancient history because of its heat-resistant properties, and as a consequence, it was, until fairly recently, the number one choice for constructing and installing drywall and flooring, as well as the insulation and fire-proofing of homes, schools, commercial buildings, etc.
So, why the sudden change away from asbestos? Well, since the world fell in love with it, we have discovered that it comes with some pretty serious health hazards. It has been determined that breathing in asbestos can compromise the human lung, even leading to cancer. As a result, the federal government has executed plans to reduce the use of asbestos, post warnings, and educate people about the potential threats associated to living and working in close proximity of asbestos. To put it lightly, asbestos has caused quite a frenzy.
Does My Home Contain Asbestos?
Considering the fact that hundreds of thousands of structures, including residential homes, were constructed using asbestos before we knew it was a danger, there’s a pretty good chance homes constructed before the 1980s will have some asbestos present – and maybe even some constructed during later periods of time. It’s a smart idea to have your home professionally inspected and tested in order to make sure that the weird looking stuff you spotted in your attic really IS asbestos, and not something benign. This will ensure that no hidden dangers are lurking in your drywall, ceilings, or flooring.
Is All Asbestos Bad?
Here’s the tricky part… not all asbestos presents a cause for alarm. It’s not a single, easily categorized substance. There are many different forms of the stuff, and they present risks ranging from very minimal to pretty severe. If your home has crocidolite and amosite asbestos, you’re in danger and should have it removed. Chrysotile asbestos, on the other hand, presents fewer risks to lung tissue and if it is present in an area where only low-level, intermittent exposure (or less) occurs, there may not be cause of alarm. Regardless, you should speak with a professional for more info if you suspect any type of asbestos in your home.
When Should I Take Action Against Asbestos?
As mentioned previously, certain types of asbestos are considered to be much more dangerous than others, but if you believe that any type of asbestos is inside your home, it’s important to have it evaluated in order to determine how hazardous it is to your health. If the asbestos is airborne or has the potential to become airborne, it is imperative that you have it abated right away. Do not ever attempt to get rid of or encapsulate asbestos on your own, as you are putting yourself at extreme risk. Instead, look for a contractor that is OSHA-certified to handle the abatement of asbestos on your behalf.
The quiet, hidden dangers associated with asbestos can make this substance seem really scary – and when dangerous types of asbestos have become airborne, it IS really scary. Even so, there’s no reason to panic. The professionals at Abbotts Fire & Flood know how to identify asbestos hazards and can restore your home to safety. Give us a call to have your home evaluated for asbestos today, or to learn more about the asbestos abatement process.