Did you know that exposure to asbestos in older homes can lead to serious health complications down the road? Homes built before 1980 have a strong likelihood of containing asbestos, which can lead to serious diseases later in life, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma cancer.
This Mesothelioma Awareness Day, take some time to learn about asbestos exposure and how you can ensure that the air quality in your home is safe for you and your family.
Asbestos Containing Materials
Asbestos is a material that contains fire-resistant properties, making it a popular choice for construction projects before the 1980s. In the 1970s it was discovered that asbestos is a dangerous material if exposed, so asbestos use came to a quick halt within the United States.
Even though asbestos is no longer used in new construction projects, it hasn’t been removed from existing structures making exposure still a risk today.
Asbestos containing materials (ACMs) are the elements in a building that are made with asbestos. Many common areas in the home may contain asbestos, including:
Heating and Piping
- Air duct coverings
- Piping insulation
- Door gaskets
- Oil and coal furnaces
- Walls and floors surrounding wood-burning stoves
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Cement roofing
- Cement siding
- Window putty
- Roof shingles
- Batt insulation
- Vermiculite insulation
- Popcorn ceilings
- Textured paint
- Fuse boxes
- Recessed lighting liners
- Lamp sockets
- Electrical switch boxes
As you can see, there are many areas of older homes that could contain asbestos if you’re living in a home that was built before 1980. If damage occurs to any of the items listed above there is a greater risk of asbestos exposure as asbestos particles begin to linger in the air. To keep your family safe, ensure that there is no damage to these things and seek professional advice before beginning any home renovation project.
How to Check Your Home for Asbestos
If your home was built before 1980 and if you’ve never had it checked for asbestos containing materials, you may want to consider scheduling a test. When it comes to home safety and checking for asbestos, there are two main options to choose from:
Use a do-it-yourself asbestos testing kit: If there’s a specific area of your home that you feel could possibly contain asbestos, an at-home asbestos testing kit can help you come to a conclusion. The kits come with the instructions, tools, and safety equipment you need to conduct this test yourself and then send it in to a lab for testing.
They’re typically available at your local hardware store and can be a more affordable option than having a professional come check your home. However, keep in mind that exposure to asbestos is dangerous and the safest route is to hire a professional.
Hire an asbestos abatement professional: The safest route to take when getting your home checked for asbestos is to hire a professional. Asbestos abatement professionals have the proper tools and procedures to cautiously check for asbestos while protecting themselves and your home.
Additionally, they can make proper recommendations for next steps if your home does contain asbestos and how to safely proceed with removing the material.
In all, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure in order to prevent health complications from occurring later on in life.
Because most asbestos-induced diseases have a long latency period, meaning symptoms do not typically begin until after 10-50 years from initial exposure, it can be hard to know if you are exposed until it’s too late. Keep yourself and your family safe by ensuring that there’s no asbestos exposure occurring in your home in honor of Mesothelioma Awareness Day this month.