Asbestos has been a popular source of insulation and fire retardant for most of the twentieth century and would probably still be in use today, if not for the many health risks associated with its usage. Many homes that were built prior to asbestos’ ban still contain asbestos and, as a result, many homeowners and building inhabitants are wary of potential harms to their health.
So what should you do if your home or commercial building contains asbestos?
If you are concerned about the presence of asbestos in your home or building, first off, don’t mess with it. If there is potentially harmful asbestos in your building and you try to remove it yourself, you can potentially disturb asbestos, posing risks to your own health and allowing harmful asbestos particles to become airborne.
Most of the time, when asbestos is left undisturbed, it poses little or no risk to those living and working within the building. Asbestos only creates issues when it becomes airborne and gets into your lungs at a high enough concentration level. Asbestos-containing materials that are in good condition and are well-secured may not pose problems to inhabitants’ health.
One of the biggest things to consider when deciding whether or not to have asbestos testing, and possibly removed, are whether or not the materials in your building are deteriorating, or are likely to be disturbed in an upcoming home or building renovation. If asbestos is in good shape, or is being in used in an out-of-the-way area , like a crawlspace or attic, you may be better off to leave the asbestos in place. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, if you decide not to have asbestos removed, you should still seal or cover the area with specially-designed products designed to coat the asbestos product and bind fibers together.
If materials are disturbed, however, asbestos fibers can be released into the air and affect air quality. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can lodge permanently in the lungs. There are a number of health problems related to asbestos exposure like:
- Lung cancer, and
- Potentially increase the risk for cancers of the esophagus, kidneys, colon, gastrointestinal tract and throat
If you are concerned about the presence of asbestos in your home or building, you should definitely have an asbestos survey performed by a qualified professional. Only experienced San Diego asbestos abatement technicians, like the DOSH-certified inspectors at Rarefied Air Environmental are qualified to perform comprehensive asbestos surveys of suspicious materials that comply with city and state requirements.