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Asbestos becomes most dangerous when particles become airborne

Updated: Thursday, Sep 10,2009, 12:16:56 PM
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For those who believe a home was built or remodeled using asbestos-containing materials, the first step is confirming that asbestos is present. Identifying asbestos-containing construction materials simply by sight alone is difficult. It is safest to assume that construction materials contain asbestos if the home was built prior to the mid-1980s, and to have samples of materials professionally tested to confirm the presence of asbestos.

The presence of asbestos -containing materials in the home does not always pose a health risk, and determining what to do about asbestos -containing materials will depend on the types of products that contain asbestos, and whether or not they are in good condition.

With the recent increase in mesothelioma and other lung related diseases, doctors and scientists have been determining what toxic material is most dangerous to human health. It is important to first note that asbestos is not hazardous if it is handled correctly. This does not mean individuals cannot be contaminated by the fibers and become ill in later years. asbestos comes in different forms and colors. Familiarizing yourself with the different types is essential to determine whether your have asbestos in your home. Even then, asbestos fibers are so small it takes a special microscope to determine whether fibers are present. As a rule of thumb, remember that white asbestos is safer than other colors such as brown or grey. Every year, thousands of individuals die because of asbestos exposure. The people who have been infected with the fibers in their lungs were exposed many years ago due to their work environment and the lack of safety precautions around the material.

asbestos becomes most dangerous when particles become airborne. This can happen when a house or building becomes demolished or renovated. Once particles become loose into the air, it is more likely to be inhaled by those who are working (or living) around it. Loose particles can result from sanding, hammering, drilling or just slightly disrupting its placement in the home. It is best not to take initial steps for removing the asbestos. The most dangerous location where asbestos is often removed without testing the material first is pipe insulation. In these cases, asbestos insulation looks very similar to typical loft insulation that is used. If there is asbestos in the home and it is in danger of becoming disturbed, make sure it is kept wet. This allows for particles to remain stable and not be released into the air. It is important to get an estimate of whether or not asbestos is actually present so the necessary steps can be taken to either keep it from becoming disturbed or removing it completely.

In most cases, asbestos is present but not disrupted. Leaving asbestos stos material undisturbed is the safest way for people not to be exposed to the toxic material. Even though the asbestos may be in an area of the home, does not mean that it needs to be removed. If it is left unharmed it is technically causing no danger to your or your family. Removing the asbestos is often a hard and tedious task, especially if you are trying to accomplish it on your own. It could potentially cause more harm than good when you try and break away the asbestos from a specific area. If you hire an abatement company to remove the asbestos from your home, chances are they are going to do a solid job of safely taking all of the harmful material out of your home. Unfortunately, everything has its price, and the abatement process is often very expensive.

Some exterior asbestos products can still be legally used. For example, exterior cement siding and some roofing materials may still legally contain asbestos . However, while these materials are legal, they are not commonly used in construction.

Base flashing, used as weatherproofing material around non-metallic exterior protrusions such as roof vents. The adhesive used to secure flashing in place often contained asbestos as well. In cases where base flashing itself does not contain asbestos, the roofing felt beneath it is likely to.
Cement siding: shingles, clapboard, and other exterior cement board products (12 percent to 15 percent asbestos depending on the exact product)
Roofing materials: including asphalt shingles (low levels of asbestos; at least 1 percent), roofing felt (at least 10 percent asbestos), patching cement
Sand: if made from crushed rock, may contain mineral tremolite asbestos .

Tags: Asbestos

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