Am I at risk for asbestos-related illness?

Asbestos commonly found in home building materials do not generally pose risks to health unless the asbestos-containing material is broken, deteriorating or disturbed in such a way that asbestos particles become airborne. The potential for this occurs when asbestos-containing material is being broken, drilled or sanded, or when it is being cut with something like a power tool. Generally, asbestos only poses a risk to people’s health when asbestos fibers are inhaled.

A number of products commonly found around the home contain asbestos. By avoiding these products, you may be able to reduce the health risks associated with asbestos. In older homes, you may reasonably expect to find asbestos in:

  • Exterior fiber cement cladding and weatherboards,
  • Artificial brick cladding,
  • Flexible building boards – eave linings, bathroom linings, cement tile underlay,
  • Corrugated cement roofing,
  • Flue pipes,
  • Paint containing asbestos,
  • Vinyl floor tiles or coverings.

‘Friable’ asbestos can also be found in:

  • Insulation or hot water pipes,
  • Insulation in old heaters,
  • Insulation in stoves,
  • Ceiling insulation products,

Houses that were built before the mid-1980s are very likely to have asbestos-containing products, while homes built between the mid-1980s and 1990 may or may not have asbestos-containing products. Houses built after 1990 are unlikely to have asbestos-containing products.

Don’t remove asbestos alone

The safest way to avoid asbestos-related health risks is to avoid asbestos altogether. While you, personally, can remove asbestos from your home without hiring outside help, it is not advised. Asbestos can be a very dangerous medium to work with and when handled incorrectly, can pose significant risk to your personal health, as well as, the health of other inhabitants and even your neighbors.

Why asbestos should only be removed by a qualified professional

Below, we cover some of the top reasons why you should leave asbestos removal to the professionals:

  1. Asbestos is dangerous. Removing asbestos requires professionalism, licenses and training. When improperly handled, broken or disturbed, asbestos can be very dangerous. Hiring a licensed professional may potentially decrease the likelihood of asbestos becoming airborne and posing risks to your, and other inhabitants’, health.
  2. Safety precautions. If you do not follow every safety precaution when it comes to asbestos, you pose significant risks to your, and your family’s, health, up to and including, asbestos-related cancers.
  3. Cost outweighs health risks. While removing asbestos is expensive, you and your family’s health and peace-of-mind is priceless. Knowing that you and your family are safe and that your asbestos is far more valuable than the cost of asbestos removal.

If you believe your property’s asbestos poses risks to the your health, you may want to consider asbestos testing. When choosing an asbestos testing company, make sure you’re working with a DOSH-certified and experienced asbestos testing company. Only an experienced technician is qualified to sample, analyze and deliver comprehensive reporting on the findings of their testing and tell you whether or not the asbestos in your home or building poses risks to the inhabitants. If you’re interested in San Diego asbestos testing, contact Rarefied Air Environmental today.