What Homeowners Should Know About Asbestos
Because of how infamous asbestos has become as a hazardous material, you would think the use of asbestos would have been completely outlawed. Unfortunately, asbestos is still legal. To protect yourself and your family, allow us to teach you what homeowners should know about asbestos so you can more easily identify and address it before it becomes a bigger problem.
What Is Asbestos?
Prior to the 1980s, asbestos was a widely used building material in homes because it’s a naturally occurring mineral composed of thin, heat-resistant fibers. This heat resistance and its composition made asbestos effective as a form of insulation in walls, floor tiles, cement, and pipes. It can be difficult to determine if your insulation has asbestos, but a common sign of asbestos is if your insulation contains spindly white fibers that resemble a spider’s web. If you suspect there is asbestos in your home, consider purchasing an asbestos testing kit.
How Asbestos Affects Health
The two predominant health risks of asbestos are asbestosis and mesothelioma. These are both types of respiratory disease that affect your lungs and airways. Asbestosis will scar your lungs and restrict your ability to breathe, as it affects your body’s ability to intake oxygen. Symptoms include shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and dry coughing, in addition to enlarged fingertips and a loss of appetite.
Mesothelioma is worse, as it’s much more fatal. Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer that begins to form along and around the lungs, heart, or abdomen when asbestos fibers are inhaled. The symptoms of mesothelioma are nearly identical to asbestosis, but a diagnosis is guaranteed to be fatal.
Common Spots Asbestos Is Found
Now that you’re better aware of the dangers, what homeowners should know about asbestos the most is where it can be commonly found in one’s home. Knowing this information enables you to thoroughly inspect and address any issues quickly. These locations may be something as common as cement, as out-of-the-way as roof shingles, or as unlikely as steam pipes. Asbestos can be found most often in spray-on insulation. However, if it is present here, it may be present throughout the entire house.
So, how do you get rid of asbestos? First, we should stress that you should never try to remove asbestos on your own. It’s simply too risky, especially if you don’t have the right personal protection equipment. Make sure you always contact professionals for the removal of asbestos.