If your house was built prior to the 1980s, there is a good chance asbestos can be found in your home. For example, if your home was built between 1930 and 1950, it’s likely that your insulation contains asbestos. But this is not necessarily a reason to panic! Rather, take the time to become informed about asbestos containing materials (ACM), where they might be located in your home, and what you can do about it.
Remember, the mere presence of asbestos in your home is not hazardous; it becomes a hazard when ACM deteriorate or become damaged. This can cause fibers to become airborne, where they can be inhaled and subsequently lodge in the lungs. Asbestos can cause serious health conditions due to repeated exposure. Mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancers are just a few of the health conditions long associated with asbestos exposure. To make matters worse, most illnesses will not show up until 15 years after exposure.
The best way to avoid asbestos exposure in your home is to become knowledgeable about ACM location and condition.
Asbestos Containing Materials
You can be exposed to asbestos in the home when you drill a hole in the wall, replace old pipes, or renovate a room or larger area. Any of these routine maintenance or renovation activities can disturb and distribute asbestos fibers and release them into the air. But if you know where ACM might be located, you can routinely inspect for possible damage or proceed safely with repairs or renovations.
Here are some areas and items in your home that might contain asbestos:
- The attic – the insulation might be composed of asbestos-containing vermiculite.
- Drywall – asbestos was used in this product before the 1980s.
- Brakes – older brake components may contain asbestos and brake dust will, too.
- Vinyl floor tile – asbestos was a common ingredient in floor tile in the 1950s.
- “Popcorn” ceiling finishes – many textured ceiling finishes have concealed asbestos.
- Pipe insulation – older plumbing systems might be wrapped in asbestos insulation.
If you have any concern about ACM in these common household substances, do not disturb them. Even if the material is in good condition based on your visual observation, don’t touch it. Contact a licensed and experienced professional to conduct an inspection and, possibly, testing.
Asbestos Dos and Don’ts
Take precautions not to disturb areas in your home that you suspect may contain asbestos. And hire a professional – improperly handling ACM can create a health risk even if one was not present before.
- If you are planning a demolition or renovation, contact a professional before you begin.
- Only hire trained, experienced, and certified asbestos technicians.
- Take every precaution not to damage materials that might contain asbestos.
- Minimize activities in areas with damaged materials.
- Sweep, saw, sand, drill, scrape or otherwise disturb potential ACM.
- Collect asbestos sampling yourself – call a professional.
- Attempt to remove wax from asbestos-containing flooring.
- Track material that might contain asbestos through your home.
Although undisturbed asbestos in your home is not necessarily a health hazard, it’s best not to ignore the presence of ACM. Eventually, the structural components and materials in your home that contain asbestos will deteriorate or experience some degree of disturbance from activities like remodeling, which results in the formation airborne asbestos fibers in your home.
At Paragon Environmental, we are experienced, responsive, and customer oriented, and we follow strict OSHA, EPA, and CDPHE guidelines. Give us a call at 303-529-1257 and let our expertise work for you!