As much as we want to avoid the subject, the reality of asbestos still exists for many people in the world. This guest post by Brenda Panin provides some useful information on the matter.
There is a good chance your home contains asbestos, if it was constructed prior to the 1970’s. If you own property from that era, you are not alone. It’s estimated that over 25 million property owners may face the ordeal of controlling or removing asbestos from their residence.
Asbestos is a form of naturally occurring silicate minerals. It became a popular building material due to its sound absorption, strength, affordability and resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage. Because of these qualities, asbestos became a common component in the manufacture of electrical wiring, insulation, drywall, cement, roofing and many other home materials. Prior to the establishment of strict restrictions on the use of asbestos, it was extensively used in home building.
When it’s in good condition, asbestos isn’t dangerous. However, when the fibers have deteriorated and become airborne, asbestos can be very dangerous. The fibers are so small that they are nearly invisible and can become airborne very easily. Once in the air, fibers are easily inhaled and/or embedded in skin tissue. Asbestos exposure can develop into lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. These diseases may not develop into symptoms for up to 40 years after exposure. All are incurable and are likely to be fatal.
Having asbestos in a home is not only a potential health hazard but can also lead to financial and legal concerns for the owner. There are now laws that hold a property owner accountable for harm done to visitors who enter the premise and consequently have health issues. It is the owners responsibility to warn people of the possibility of asbestos exposure. Homes with asbestos, are difficult to insure, finance and sell. Asbestos is a very challenging issue and creates an ongoing nightmare for property owners.
Here, are some tips if you suspect that your property has an asbestos problem or you will be doing renovations, repairs or remodeling:
- Hire a state or EPA licensed and trained contractor to inspect your home for asbestos. They have the knowledge and expertise to take samples that can be tested for asbestos.
- Use a certified asbestos lab, who works independently from the contractor, to test the sample.
- If asbestos is found it is strongly recommended that you hire a reputable, licensed asbestos contractor who will provide you with a thorough plan to either remove or abate the asbestos.
- Comparison shop among the contractors to ensure they are qualified to remedy the specific problem you are facing.
- You check the contractors references, insurance coverages, Better Business Bureau rating, and local environmental agencies to check for complaints or violations.
- Contractor quotes have all costs included such as set-up, clean-up, disposal, labor and replacement materials
- Contractor provides a written, detailed work plan.
- Special permits are secured before work begins, and all government regulations are in compliance.
- The containment work area remains intact until a written air sample report is taken and passed.
You can find local, professional asbestos contractors by using the Internet.
Brenda Panin is a marketing coordinator from Brisbane, Australia. She is representing AWARE, a company specializing in asbestos removal.