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Asbestos In The Home: How To Identify & Mitigate Risks

Asbestos In The Home: How To Identify & Mitigate Risks

Asbestos was once seen as a miracle material due to its fire resistance and high temperature insulation capabilities. However, it is now recognized as a hazardous material that can cause serious health issues. Homes built before 1978 may contain asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). When these materials are disturbed, and the asbestos becomes friable, they can release harmful fibers into the air; this is when it is referred to as a Regulated Asbestos Containing Material (RACM). The RACM materials are regulated by both State and Federal laws.

Many building materials can contain asbestos. Since these materials are not obvious, we need to be able to be able to answer several questions; how can we identify its presence in our homes? What are the risks to exposure? What steps can we take to reduce those risks for exposure?

Identifying Asbestos-Containing Materials

Identifying ACMs in your home can be challenging, as asbestos was commonly used in a wide range of building materials. Some common areas where asbestos may be present include vermiculite insulation, textured ceilings, floor tiles, vinyl flooring, heating ventilation air conditioning unit ductwork, hot water or steam pipe insulation, lathe and plaster walls, and roofing materials. The only way to accurately determine if a material contains asbestos is to have it sampled and tested by a certified laboratory. To collect samples, hiring a certified asbestos inspector will have the training to know what to sample, how to sample, and how many samples to collect, and where the samples are to be analyzed. This will assure your home will be assessed professionally and accurately.

Understanding the Risks

Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to severe health issues, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. It is essential to understand that the health effects may not be immediate. Symptoms can take years, or even decades, to develop, which implies that the younger members of society are at greatest risk for developing health effects from exposure. Asbestos fibers are invisible to the naked eye, extremely light weight, is tasteless and odorless, which makes it to identify the potential sources of this material in your home, especially if you are planning on remodeling.

Safe Handling and Mitigation

If asbestos-containing materials are identified in your home, it is crucial to take proper precautions to avoid exposure. If the handling or disturbing the asbestos containing material can release fibers into the air, then a professional abatement company should be hired. They are trained on how to construct engineering controls to prevent the spread of asbestos and how to properly clean before removing those controls; whether this is removal or encapsulation of the ACM or RACM materials. DIY asbestos removal is strongly discouraged due to the high risks involved; you could create a hazardous environment in your home.

Creating an Asbestos-Free Environment

Mitigating the risks associated with asbestos requires a proactive approach to creating an asbestos-free environment. After the locations of asbestos containing materials have been identified, regular maintenance and inspections can help identify deterioration or other potential conditions that could lead to exposure so you can address them promptly.

It is essential to work with professionals when planning renovations or remodeling projects. Most builders and remodelers know professionals they can call and should be experienced in identifying when there are potential asbestos containing materials that will be disturbed. Before you contract with a contractor, ask about their experience and training with this material. It should ensure that safe work practices are followed.

Legal Considerations

Given the known health risks associated with asbestos, there are strict state and federal regulations in place to protect individuals from exposure. Understanding your legal rights and responsibilities regarding asbestos in your home is crucial. Consult with state or local health department authorities to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Most state websites have an entire Section/Department on asbestos regulations with helpful information and guidelines.

Asbestos can be dangerous to our health. It is important to be proactive in detecting its presence in our homes. Taking steps to reduce the risk of asbestos should be a priority for everyone. Through proper identification, safe handling, and using professional abatement techniques, you can create a safer living environment for you, your family, or facility. Remember, when it comes to asbestos, prevention and caution are key.

Regular inspections and maintenance can help safeguard your health. Additionally, adhering to legal requirements and safe work practices will help to ensure a healthier home in the long-term. If you’re concerned about asbestos in your home, Contact Farsight Management today!

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Our Commitment

At Farsight Management we understand that not all indoor air quality companies are created equal.

We feel that it is imperative to educate ourselves, our employees, and our customers. You can trust that we follow all the national standards in regards to indoor air quality. This includes mold remediation, lead abatement, asbestos removal, and everything that we do.