Asbestos is a silicate material made of thin, fibrous crystals that was once used to insulate homes because it was affordable, resistant to heat, electrical, fire, and chemical damage, and it absorbs sound well. While it was mostly used for insulation, asbestos was also used in paint, roofing shingles, and vinyl sheet flooring. Eventually it was discovered that prolonged exposure to asbestos could cause serious medical conditions, which made it extremely important to have an asbestos inspection completed before you move into a new home. Discover more about how asbestos, how exposure can affect your health, and what to do if you find asbestos in your home.
When Was Asbestos Used?
Asbestos was used to insulate homes that were built between 1930 and 1950. However, it was used in other products, such as textured paint, up until 1977. So, if you purchase a home built between 1930 and 1977, you need to have an asbestos inspection completed before proceeding with the sale.
How Does Asbestos Affect Your Health?
Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers has been linked to lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. All of these conditions affect your ability to breathe. However, mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that can also affect your abdomen or chest cavity.
Who is At Risk for Asbestos-Related Diseases?
Asbestos is only dangerous if you breathe in asbestos fibers. However, asbestos, and products made with asbestos, that is in good condition doesn't generally release fibers into the air. So, if your asbestos inspection concluded that there is asbestos in your home, you don't need to panic. If the asbestos is in good condition, you don't need to do anything. It only needs to be removed if the material containing asbestos is damaged. If you have damaged materials in your home that contain asbestos, you should consider having the material professionally removed.
What is Involved in an Asbestos Inspection?
When asbestos inspectors arrive at your home they will walk through your house looking for material that could contain asbestos. Because you can't tell if a product contains asbestos fibers simply by looking at it, the inspector will take pictures and samples of materials that might include asbestos. The photos and samples are analyzed in a lab. Once the results are returned, the inspector will review the results with you and provide you with recommendations on how to handle any materials that were found to contain asbestos.
While asbestos can be dangerous, it's important to remember that asbestos is only dangerous if you're exposed to asbestos fibers. However, if you're worried that there may be asbestos in your home, you should still schedule an asbestos inspection as soon as possible.
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