What Happens When Asbestos Is Discovered?

Updating the family home shouldn’t end with an injury or illness. However, in some situations, this may be the unintended consequence. Take a look at how asbestos, a dangerous building material, is found and removed before it becomes an issue, as an asbestos contractor, such as Nielsen Environmental, can explain.

Is It Asbestos?

There is no sure-fire way to identify a material as asbestos without special testing. Once you stumble upon something that you suspect may have asbestos, it is recommended that you leave the area undisturbed. The most dangerous part about asbestos is how quickly it can settle into the lungs when it becomes airborne. Since breaking up the particles makes them scatter into the air, any chance you may have of avoiding exposure lies in leaving the material suspected alone. Even if you aren’t sure if the substance is asbestos, there is one tell-tale sign: the age of the building. Structures built before the 1980’s are more likely to contain detrimental amounts of asbestos than those constructed in subsequent years. Thus, if you find a questionable material in an older building, proceed with caution and get a professional to test it.

What Areas Are More Prone to Asbestos?

Before 1980, the level of asbestos used in a home was relatively high. This had more to do with the concentrated amount used in other building materials in the house. Many pieces of a structure used to have dangerously high levels of asbestos, again, because of the way it insulated against heat. When dealing with a building of advanced age, the most common areas to find asbestos include:

  • Flooring tiles
  • Roofing shingles
  • Pipe insulation
  • Sheetrock
  • Siding
  • Sheeting
  • Fireplaces
  • Furnaces

How Is Asbestos Removed?

Once the material in the home is found to be positive for asbestos, it is up to an asbestos removal contractor to decide how to remove it. Many variables go into removing the substance. If the material is in good condition, meaning there is no sign of cracking or disintegration, the removal expert will have an easier time disposing of it. However, if asbestos is found in an area that is breaking down or in particulate forms, such as insulation, the process may require more measures. The area needs to be fully protected, utilizing plastic barriers and specialized filtration systems. The contractor doing the work must ensure that employees are wearing protective gear to stop the inhalation of particulates. Once asbestos enters the lungs, it never leaves. This leads to serious respiratory issues, including an aggressive and deadly cancer known as mesothelioma. Thus, all protective measures must be taken.

Keeping your family safe is vital. Before tackling a project that may inadvertently endanger them, call an asbestos removal contractor for help.