Asbestos is a mineral that occurs in nature comprised of small fibers. The problem is, asbestos can generate a cloud of dust made up of asbestos fibers if it is disturbed. Inhaling these fibers into your lungs can cause a wide range of health problems. Unfortunately, for many decades asbestos was frequently used as a building material because of its insulating and fire resistant properties. Having asbestos in your home can pose a danger to you and your family under certain circumstances.
Risks of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is only a danger to your health if you breathe in the fibers. This means that the existence of asbestos in your home does not in itself mean you are at risk. However, if the asbestos material is damaged, disturbed or deteriorating, it could be allowing asbestos fibers to become airborne. This can happen even when you use a power tool to cut, sand or drill into asbestos material. One problem with dealing with asbestos is that you can't be certain through a visual inspection whether a material contains asbestos or not. Only a laboratory test can determine this.
Diseases Caused by Asbestos Exposure
Exposure to asbestos has been linked to the following diseases:
- Asbestosis: Asbestosis is a condition in which asbestos causes scar tissue in your lungs and interferes with breathing.
- Pleural Plaques: These are thick patches on the lining of the lung made of scar tissue.
- Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that can be caused by asbestos exposure. It can affect the linings of the lung, the chest wall and diaphragm.
- Lung Cancer: Lung cancer can often develop after decades of exposure to asbestos. Individuals who already have asbestosis or who smoke are more susceptible.
Places Where Asbestos Could Be in Your Home
Asbestos (either firm or loose) can sometimes be found in the following locations or materials:
- Exterior cladding and weatherboards
- Artificial brick cladding
- Flue pipes
- Architectural cement columns
- Textured paint
- Vinyl flooring
- Water pipe insulation
- Heater insulation
- Stove insulation
- Ceiling insulation
Hire a Professional to Remove Asbestos
Although asbestos doesn't have to be removed if it isn't deteriorating, if it does have to be removed you should hire a professional to remove it for you. While you can legally remove it yourself, this is discouraged. Removing asbestos safely requires special equipment, specific procedures and a lot of work. You're much better off having a company like Property Doctors doing it for you.