Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant. EPA and CPSC have banned several asbestos products. Manufacturers have also voluntarily limited uses of asbestos. Today, asbestos is most commonly found in older homes, in pipe and furnace insulation materials, asbestos shingles, millboard, textured paints (other coating materials), and floor tiles.
Elevated concentrations of airborne asbestos can occur after asbestos-containing materials are disturbed by cutting, sanding or other remodeling activities. Improper attempts to remove these materials can release asbestos fibers into the air in homes, increasing asbestos levels and endangering people living in those homes.
Maida Services, Inc. does not provide referrals for Laboratory Testing or the Abatement of Asbestos.
Sources of Asbestos in the Home:
- Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
- Houses built between 1930 and 1950 could have asbestos as insulation.
- Although their use was banned in 1977, asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints.
- Some soundproofing or decorative materials sprayed on walls or ceilings.
- Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
- Older products such as stove-top pads may have some asbestos compounds.
- Walls and floors around wood burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets.
- Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
- Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
- Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.
The most dangerous asbestos fibers are too small to be visible. After they are inhaled, they can remain and accumulate in the lungs. Long-term risk of exposure includes mesothelioma ( a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity), and asbestosis (irreversible lung scarring). Smokers are at higher risk of developing asbestos-induced lung cancer. Symptoms of these diseases do not show up until many years after exposure began. Most people with asbestos-related diseases were exposed to elevated concentrations on the job; some developed disease from exposure to clothing and equipment brought home from job sites.
Steps to Reduce Exposure:
- Usually it is best to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone if it is not likely to be disturbed, and, to the extent possible, prevent them from being damaged, or touched. Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fiber.
- Periodically inspect for damage or deterioration. Discard damaged or worn asbestos gloves, stove-top pads, or ironing board covers.
- There is no danger unless fibers are released and inhaled into the lungs; do not cut, rip, or sand asbestos-containing materials.
- Follow proper procedures in replacing wood stove door gaskets that may contain asbestos.
- Before you have your house remodeled, find out whether asbestos materials are present.
If you think your home may have asbestos:
- Check with local health, environmental, or other appropriate officials to find out about proper handling and disposal procedures.
- If asbestos material is more than slightly damaged, or if you are going to make changes in your home that might disturb it, repair or removal by a professional is needed. Use trained and qualified contractors for control measures that may disturb asbestos and for cleanup.
- Select a contractor only after careful discussion of the problems in your home and the steps the contractor will take to clean up or remove them.
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