Is Your Building Safe from Asbestos?
In the 70s and 80s, asbestos was seen as a cheap, durable and versatile substance. The abundant,
naturally occurring mineral was refined and included in many building materials including concrete,
insulation and plastics. Asbestos is resistant to heat, electricity and chemical reactions, which explains
why it was used so extensively during this time. Unfortunately, we now know it is also carcinogenic and
extremely harmful to humans.
Asbestos & Health
There is no safe level of asbestos exposure and anyone who is near the substance is at risk. Asbestos is
often disturbed unknowingly by those renovating their homes. This poses a serious danger as the fibers
from the material can linger in the air for up to 72 hours. Should someone breathe in or ingest asbestos
during this time, the fine fibers can cling to your lungs, stomach or heart. Once in your body, the
problem can lay dormant for 20-50 years before it eventually manifests into a number of incurable
diseases. Before beginning any DIY renovations, it is vital to know if your home contains asbestos and if
so, you ensure it is disposed by professionals in a safe manner.
Where is Asbestos found today?
Since the dangers of asbestos were recognised, it is no longer a commonly used building material in the
UK (though, you are still allowed to use a 1% mixture in the US). This means that if your home was built
during or before the 1980s, you may be at risk. It is important to note that undamaged asbestos is
relatively safe. However, if you are a homeowner of a house 30 years or older, your best option is to call
in a trained professional and have each room tested for asbestos’ presence.
Here are some places asbestos is found:
Attics are more commonly used for storage rather than for living, however this is a popular room to find
asbestos. Vermiculite insulation made with asbestos will usually have a brown to grey colour and will
have a small pebbly texture. Concrete walls, flooring, fiberboard and roofing tiles should all be tested for
asbestos as well.
Most DIY home renovation projects tend to start in popular areas of the home, like the kitchen or
bedroom. It’s important to be extra careful in these areas as asbestos can be found in materials you’d
might not even consider. Textured ceilings, window glazing, lighting fixtures, linoleum/flooring tiles,
plaster, paint and caulking to seal gaps and cracks can all contain the dangerous substance.
While it’s extremely rare for a furnace in a home to last longer than 15-30 years, if yours in an original, it
is likely to contain asbestos and should be replaced immediately. Other large appliances in this area
include water heaters, piping insulation and wood, coal or pellet burning stoves.
Watch out for asbestos when doing upkeep on the external side of the home. Old shingles, siding, and
roofing materials have all been proven to contain asbestos. Should any of these be damaged in a natural
disaster or storm, the asbestos fibers could easily be released into the air.
Knowing if and where in your home/business contains asbestos is the best way to protect yourself and
others from this dormant threat. Karsons Consulting has a wealth of expertise and high profile
experience dealing with asbestos contamination and removal.
For more information on how to combat the threat of asbestos in your home, contact out team today at
firstname.lastname@example.org for expert advice.