Do You Have an Older Home That Might Have Asbestos?
People everywhere shudder when they think they might have asbestos insulation in their home.
In the past there weren’t any concerns about the effects it might have. But, today it’s a different story, its dangers are well known.
What is asbestos?
The word has Greek origins meaning unquenchable or inextinguishable.
It is a mineral fiber that became very popular with manufacturers and builders in the 19th Century because of its sound absorption, resistance to and insulation from heat, electricity and chemicals as well as its strength.
Asbestos can only be positively identified using a special type of microscope.
Where would asbestos be used in the home?
Today, most products don’t contain asbestos, but until the 1970s many home construction materials were made containing it. In an older home:
- It may be found in roofing and siding shingles
- It may be found in textured paint and in some patching compounds.
- Walls and floors around wood burning stoves may have it in the protective paper, mill boards or cement sheets.
- It may be found in some vinyl floor tiles.
- Hot water and steam pipes may be coated with asbestos materials or blankets.
What should be done if asbestos is found?
First – don’t panic!
- If the material is in good condition, the best thing to do is leave it alone. If it isn’t frayed or damaged it will not release its fibers.
- Check the identified material regularly for wear that would put it at risk for contaminating, but do not touch it especially if it is damaged, because that’s when it will release the dangerous fibers.
- If it’s damaged, limit access to the area that it is in.
- Check with a professional as to whether or not it needs to be removed and for its proper removal.
What health risks come from exposure to asbestos?
- Lung Cancer
- Mesothelioma, cancer of the chest lining and abdominal cavity
- Lung scarring with fibrous tissue
People exposed to small amounts of asbestos are usually not at risk for major health problems. But when inhaled, the fibers get into the lungs and can remain there for a long time, increasing health risks.
If you think you may have a problem with asbestos in your home, the best thing to do would be to call a professional.
The products that MasterCraft Roofing uses come from GAF-ELK and are asbestos free.
**originally published 1/27/2011