If you live in a home that was built prior to 1980, there is a good chance that you will find asbestos in your home. Many of the materials that were used in building homes before 1980 contained asbestos because of its insulating and fire-resistant properties. It was used in ceiling and wall plasters, wallboard, floor and ceiling tiles, floor mastics, some vinyl floor backings and many other places. In most cases, there is no danger from the asbestos in your home. As long as the materials that contain the asbestos are intact and undamaged, there is no reason to worry. Asbestos is only a health hazard when tiny fibers of it become airborne. This can happen if you disturb asbestos containing materials during renovations or repairs, or if a material containing asbestos becomes damaged.
What to Do if You Think Your Home Contains Asbestos
Unless the materials containing asbestos are clearly labeled, it’s very difficult to identify them. A licensed asbestos surveyor can test materials that you suspect contain asbestos. Testing for asbestos yourself is not recommended because of the danger of releasing asbestos fibers into the air while obtaining samples. If you choose not to have testing done, you should assume that the material does contain asbestos and treat it with all safety precautions listed below. Completely removing materials that contain asbestos is a last resort because of the risk of releasing asbestos fibers. There are several other ways to deal with asbestos in your home safely without the need to remove it. The EPA recommends the following:
– If the material is not damaged or likely to be disturbed, just leave it alone. Any attempt to remove it increases the risk that asbestos will be released into the air.
– Encapsulate the material. Encapsulation is a method of sealing the surface of materials that contain asbestos to prevent fibers from becoming airborne. Encapsulation is suitable if the material is in good repair and is not soft or crumbly. It is not recommended for material that has begun to deteriorate.
– Enclose (cover) the asbestos containing material. Covering involves putting something over or around the asbestos containing material, such as a sleeve over asbestos pipe insulation or a new floor over an existing one of asbestos tiles.
Repairing asbestos with methods like encapsulation or enclosure should both be done by professionals with training and licensing. You can find a licensed professional below:
In general, removing asbestos-containing materials from your home yourself is not recommended. Asbestos is extremely hazardous, and there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Even a few fibers have the potential to be inhaled and eventually cause asbestosis, mesothelioma or another cancer. Currently, there are no mesothelioma treatments that result in a cure.
Before you consider removing asbestos from your home yourself, consider the following cautions:
– Never sand, drill or saw asbestos containing materials. Do not use power tools on asbestos containing materials.
– Seek professional advice if you’re considering removing materials containing asbestos, or are planning renovations that my disturb materials that contain asbestos.
– Do not attempt to remove asbestos spray coatings, insulation or insulation board by yourself. These are complex jobs that require the training and equipment available to professionals.
For the removal and safe containment of asbestos, ABCO Supply has everything you need:
Kansas Regulations for Asbestos http://www.kdheks.gov/air-asbestos/resources/ks_asbestos_regulations.pdf