Safety when renovating an older home is an important issue, and one of the most common hidden dangers in an old home is Asbestos. Until the 1970’s, Asbestos was a very common and highly sought-a...
Safety when renovating an older home is an important issue, and one of the most common hidden dangers in an old home is Asbestos. Until the 1970’s, Asbestos was a very common and highly sought-after building material for its versatility; however, it was banned due to an increasing number of cancer-related deaths directly linked to Asbestos. Getting asbestos removed from older homes, or asbestos abatement, is very important, and a necessary step in any permitted renovation; however, it is unsafe to remove it without the necessary precautions. So, what exactly is asbestos, and how should you go about safely handling and removing it from your old home?
Asbestos and Why it is in Homes
Asbestos is a highly heat-resistant material that is made up of fibrous silicate minerals, and it can be woven into any number of different fabrics and materials. In home building, it was highly used because of its versatility, strength, insulation, and flexibility qualities. Asbestos could be found in a large number of places in homes, from insulation, to popcorn ceilings, wall sheeting, vinyl flooring, tile underlays, carpeting, and even fencing, roofing components, and sheds. Due to its high heat-resistance, it was considered a great material to ensure that the home had enough fire resistance to slow down house fires enough for the occupants, and the structure, to be saved. While it is just sitting in a home, it isn’t dangerous, so people don’t even notice it is there. In homes built prior to the 1970’s, if they haven’t had a full asbestos abatement since then, it is likely present in multiple places.
Health Dangers of Asbestos
While sitting in the home, whether it’s under the carpet or in the walls, asbestos is not a risk to the general health of the occupants. The issue comes about when renovations occur because, when asbestos is damaged, due to its composition of silicate materials, it breaks apart into microscopic particles that disperse in the air easily. Once breathed in, the damage from asbestos can be devastating to the lungs, causing a significantly increased chance of developing mesothelioma, which is a cancer that can affect the lining of the abdomen and chest, and lung cancer. Additionally, there are risks of other forms of cancer in the body from asbestos exposure. For years, this connection wasn’t concrete, but as it became clearer that asbestos was causing cancer deaths, it was outlawed from being used.
Removing Asbestos from Your Home Safely
Removal of asbestos is very dangerous because any accidental cut or break to a component with asbestos weaved into it will cause the particles to get into the air. You can remove asbestos yourself; however, without proper equipment (masks, negative pressure isolation, HVAC units, leak-tight containers, etc.) and training, you have a high risk of being exposed and developing cancer for yourself. Asbestos abatement companies are your best bet, and they are the only option for safe and complete removal of asbestos from your home so your renovation can continue legally.
Professional asbestos abatement companies, when called in, will test various materials in your home and send off samples to a lab to check for asbestos. Once confirmed, they will safely remove the materials from the home so that you can continue with your renovations. Finally, they will also ensure that the material is safely and lawfully disposed of.
Alliance-Enviro is an environmental company that specializes in services such as mold remediation, asbestos abatement, demolition services, dryer duct cleaning, HVAC duct cleaning, lead paint removal, trauma clean up, etc. in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, and Santa Barbara. For more information, visit https://info.alliance-enviro.com/blog.