You’ve probably heard about the dangers of asbestos but think it’s a problem of a bygone era. The reality is while it is no longer useable in building materials, it’s not illegal. In fact, tons of asbestos are imported into the United States every year.
There are warnings about asbestos in the 1970s and the connection to certain types of cancer and other respiratory conditions is not in question. Therefore, the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration worked to limit the exposure in homes and businesses.
If you built your home or business before 1980, then you may have contact with asbestos and you may ask yourself, “Is there asbestos in my home or business?”. If you do have asbestos in your home and you’re considering remodeling, then have it professionally removed to eliminate health risks.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural material from fibrous silicate, which is thin fiber-like crystals. Each fiber is a composition up of many smaller microscopic fibers that break off and infiltrate the air. People inhale the fibers, and they irritate the lungs. Prolonged exposure leads to asbestosis, lung disease, and cancer.
People used asbestos for thousands of years in everything from candle wicks to pottery, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century that large-scale mining began. Given the fibrous nature of the material, construction companies used it for insulation in homes and businesses.
In addition, it is heat resistant and an electrical insulator. Construction companies used asbestos consistently up until the 1970s when scientists discovered the connection between asbestos and numerous health problems.
Asbestos may not only be in insulation. It was useable for fire retardant coatings, concrete, bricks, drywall, and more. It was one of the most prevalent construction materials in homes and businesses.
Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?
The earliest case of asbestos-connected disease happened in the early 20th century. Scientists and physicians noticed abnormal early death and chronic lung disease from people living in asbestos mining towns. It has a connection to the death of people who are working with asbestos and eventually to people who are in exposure to asbestos through their homes or business.
In total, 67 counties outlawed the use of asbestos because of its link to cancer and other diseases. It’s still legal here in the United States but heavily regulated by the EPA and OSHA. There have been several attempts to ban the material, but asbestos supporters countered and challenged the laws.
It has been banned for use in paper, pipe and block insulation, and spray-applied surfacing.
The most common health problem associated with asbestos is asbestosis. It’s a chronic lung disease and the cause is by inhaling asbestos fibers. Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath, dry cough, loss and appetite, and clubbed fingers and toes.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer connected to the tissue that covers internal organs. It’s a very aggressive cancer that has a connection to asbestos exposure. The problem is most people don’t experience signs and symptoms of asbestos health problems for many years after initial exposure.
Is There Asbestos in My Home or Business?
You likely can’t tell if a material has asbestos visually unless it has a label. If you have an older home, built before 1980, then there is likely asbestos somewhere including pipe insulation and drywall.
If the asbestos isn’t disturbed, then the fibers aren’t agitated and infiltrate the air. The impact on your health is minimal. If you plan on doing any remodeling or if you have drywall crumbling or other damage, then talk to asbestos remediation professional.
Given the link between asbestos and serious medical issues, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Asbestos testing is easy and gives you peace of mind before remodeling. If the test comes back positive for asbestos, then you need asbestos remediation.
The dangers of asbestos are common, and you don’t want to risk the health of your family, employees, or customers.
Asbestos Abatement and Remediation
If your home or business tests positive for asbestos, it must be removed by a licensed and authorized asbestos remediation and abatement company such as Compleat Environmental Services (CES).
No one should enter the area during asbestos removal. This requires a portion of your business or home to be off from the public until they finish abatement. If the asbestos is throughout the building, then your business may close until completion.
Asbestos is very fragile. The procedure to remove it releases fibers into the air. Therefore, we wear special clothing and personal protection to keep the fibers from entering our lungs. Sealing the area is important, so no fibers leave the area.
We use special vacuums that avoid fibers dispersal throughout the area. If you are to demolish down a building, remove asbestos first before the actual demolition.
CES is a federally licensed and insured asbestos removal agency. We used negative airspace and followed all safety procedures. Also, we handle all sizes of asbestos removal from small businesses to large buildings.
We understand the serious health consequences of asbestos exposure. Don’t risk cancer for your family or employees years down the line because of hesitance in removing asbestos before remodeling.
Know the Dangers of Asbestos
While most of the industrialized world outlawed the use of asbestos, the United States is one of the few left that allows its use. There are uses for which it is banned, but if your home was built before 1980, then you could be in danger of asbestos exposure.
There is no way visually to know if your home or business has asbestos unless it has a label. Professional tests are important. Asbestos has a connection to several deadly and chronic diseases including cancer, so don’t risk exposure.
CES has had people remove asbestos from their homes and businesses for over 40 years. Our methods are safe and follow all federal guidelines.
If you suspect asbestos in your home or business or require asbestos removal, then please contact our experts today. We’ll work with you from start to finish.