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Asbestos Dangers During a Home Refurbishment

Home Products Containing Asbestos

This component was common in building materials used during the 1980s. These materials are dangerous and still found in homes all over the United States. We are aware anyone performing work or renovating homes are risking exposure to these deadly fibers if the following materials are disturbed. 

  • Older products including pads for the stove-top.
  • Patching compounds and textured paint used on ceiling joints and walls.
  • The steam and hot water pipes found in older homes covered with tape or a blanket. 
  • Roofs constructed with siding shingles and cement roofing.
  • Certain vinyl tiles used for flooring and the adhesives and backing for vinyl sheet flooring.
  • Flooring and walls around wood-burning stoves originally protected using cement sheets, millboard or paper containing this material.
  • Artificial embers and ashes purchased for fireplaces using gas.
  • The insulation used for boilers, door gaskets and coal and oil furnaces.
  • Insulation in houses constructed from 1930 until 1950.

Warnings have been issued by the National Safety Council for:

  • Decorative or soundproofing material
  • Automobile gaskets, clutch facings, linings and brake pads.

I want you to understand there is no danger unless the material is damaged. Once the material has sustained damage or starts to deteriorate, it will dry out and crumble. The resulting powder can release fibers you can inhale because they will float through the air. This is a serious health risk for anyone in the immediate vicinity including the residents of the home.

The asbestos exposure limits are best determined through professional testing. A professional can ascertain if any of the material in the home contain this deadly hazard. The homeowner should never try to remove or repair any materials containing this substance without professional assistance.

If any of these materials are disturbed, microscopic fibers can be released directly into the area. We want you to realize anyone inhaling these fibers can develop a debilitating disease including mesothelioma. The best way to ensure the safety of the residents of the home is by using an asbestos testing kit. If the results are positive, calling a professional is imperative.

Limiting Exposure in the Home

Exposure to asbestos is possible every time the materials are disturbed or damaged. Asbestos exposure limits must be observed. The current risk is increasing due to the number of older houses being remodeled and renovated. If there are any obviously damaged or crumbling materials in the home, a licensed professional should be contacted to perform testing prior to any renovations or remodeling.

This step will enable the homeowner to take the necessary actions. It is critical the materials are removed safely. In most cases, the material is classified as safe when there is no sign of damage and the condition is good. If the material becomes worn or damaged, the professional will most likely recommend either encapsulating the product using a special coating to prevent the fibers from reaching the air or abatement.

I want everyone to understand trying to remove the material without professional help can be deadly. According to OSHA, there is no such thing as a safe level of exposure. If the material is handled incorrectly, fibers can potentially be released directly into the air. This will cause a health hazard for everyone in the area.

The Dangers of Lung Disease

Asbestos is a dangerous lung disease developing because the fibers causing scarring on the lungs. I have watched this condition make it difficult to breathe because there is not enough oxygen available in the bloodstream. I learned it can take years for the condition to develop and it can be fatal. The deaths of individuals in the United States from this condition are expected to reach more than 200,000 by 2030.

The Exposure Symptoms

If you are having or have ever had your home refurbished, we want you to be aware of the symptoms of this condition. The symptoms can appear between ten and twenty years later. The exposure symptoms include:

• Dry and persistent cough
• Loss of appetite
• Nail deformities
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Enlarged fingertips
• Tightness in the chest

Asbestos Testing Kit

The majority of the testing kits available have a two-step process. This type of kit can be purchased online or from a local home improvement center at a low cost. A sample from the suspected area of the home must be mailed to a lab. The results are generally sent back through the mail within a couple of days. If the results are positive, I highly recommend contacting a professional.

Author

"SAFE Family Wearables develops safety wearables for children, women, seniors and pets designed to give busy families peace of mind. Further information on SAFE Family Wearables is available on Twitter at @oursafefamily or on Facebook."