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Products Containing Asbestos

Date Added: December 19, 2012 10:56:47 AM
Author: articlejunky
Category: Asbestos Testing

Asbestos is a fibrous material that was common in the first three-quarters of the 20th century because it made materials stronger and more resistant to heat. It wasn’t until the 1950’s or later that products containing asbestos were determined to have negative health consequences. These consequences manifested as lung cancer, respiratory problems, mesothelioma, or asbestosis, or the scarring and formation of scar tissue in the lungs around inhaled asbestos fibers.

Often, symptoms of disease do not manifest until 20 or more years after exposure, and small amounts of asbestos exposure rarely cause complicated health issues. However, the more asbestos fibers are inhaled into the lungs, the greater the risk of disease becomes. In modern construction, almost no products containing asbestos are used; however, particularly in houses constructed before 1977, it is likely that products containing asbestos were used in the construction of the home.

If you suspect that you have something containing asbestos, the best thing you can do is leave it alone. Disturbing the material releases the asbestos fibers into the air, allowing them to be inhaled into the lungs. Asbestos allowed to sit does not simply release fibers on it’s own – you don’t have a chunk of radon in your walls slowly poisoning you by releasing radiation. More harm is done by disturbing asbestos containing products and causing wear.

In older homes, asbestos may be found in insulation, siding, roofing shingles, textured paints, joint compounds, some wall materials, and vinyl flooring. If you have products containing asbestos in your home, never disturb them. Trying to remove them yourself, cutting, sanding, or otherwise disturbing the materials containing asbestos can release the fibers into the air, causing them to be inhaled and placing your health at risk. Products containing asbestos are not harmful if they are not damaged; they only pose risk when they release fibers.

Never saw, cut, or try to remove products containing asbestos on your own, but don’t assume you have to scrap your house because it contains asbestos either.

If asbestos is fairly contained and in good condition, it’s most likely that you have nothing to worry about in terms of breathing asbestos fibers. Simply do not disturb them and inspect regularly for signs of wear and tear.

If fibers are in an area that they are likely to become damaged or worn, there is still hope! An asbestos professional, with protective equipment and training, can advise you on the steps to take to eliminate risk from products containing asbestos in your home. An asbestos removal professional can take the products containing asbestos out of your home, eliminate the risk, and replace the materials with safer products, or can recommend a repair. A repair generally includes sealing or covering the asbestos materials so that they remain in the home, but are covered with a protective sealant or covering that prevents fibers from being released into the home.