Asbestos is a highly dangerous micro-fibrous material that was commonly used in building construction from the 1950s to the 1990s due to its resistance to heat, fire, chemicals, and electricity. Safe handling of these materials is important to prevent inhalation, which could potentially cause multiple complications and disease.
Although its use is not completely prohibited, asbestos is federally regulated by OSHA, the EPA and other organizations. It’s actually a naturally occurring fiber product that can be found in about two-thirds of all rocks. And while it’s been prohibited from use in products like paper goods, artificial fireplace embers and wall patching compounds, it’s still commonly found in duct and pipe insulation, vermiculite attic insulation, ceiling and wall acoustical tiles, cement asbestos siding, floor tiles, floor tile adhesives, and automobile clutches and brakes.
Not all asbestos-based products are labelled as such and sometimes it’s hard to recognize its presence positively without testing the material first. If you believe that you may have an asbestos issue, call the professionals at Absolute Restoration immediately!
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Q: If I have asbestos in my home or business, should it be removed?
A: Not necessarily. If the asbestos-containing materials are undamaged, then leave them alone. They’re only dangerous if you disturb them (e.g., by cutting, sanding or damaging them) or if they’ve been damaged and/or exposed by a natural disaster. If so, the best thing to do is to have them removed* professionally by the IICRC approved and accredited asbestos removal experts at Absolute Restoration. Removal is complex process. If not done properly, removal may actually increase you and your family’s exposure to asbestos fibers.
*(Note: Not all asbestos materials may need to be removed. Some may be “enclosed” or “encapsulated” to prevent building occupants from being exposed to any fibers.)
Q: If I’m exposed to asbestos, what are the heath risks?
A: Exposure to asbestos will increase your risk of developing lung disease, especially if you smoke. Disease symptoms may take many years to develop. Three of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure are lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis (a serious progressive, long-term, non-cancer disease of the lungs).
Q: Can asbestos be removed without me having to leave the property?
A: Yes, but you may have to be temporarily relocated to another part of your home or business during the process. The area of the building where asbestos is being removed will need to be sealed off to prevent contamination of the rest of the structure.
Q: How is the asbestos affected area sealed off?
A: This is done by using polyethylene film, duct tape, and negative air pressure machines fitted with HEPA filters. Sealing the area in this way won’t allow air-borne asbestos fibers to travel to other parts of the home or building. The negative air pressure machine pulls fresh air into the asbestos area but doesn’t let any asbestos fibers out into the surrounding environment.
Q: Can our vacuum cleaner be used to get rid of asbestos?
A: No! Only a special vacuum cleaner designed for asbestos containment (class H) can be safely used when cleaning up during and after asbestos removal. Ordinary vacuum cleaners, even those fitted with a HEPA filter, are not safe. An ordinary vacuum will eject the asbestos fibers into the room’s air.
For more information on asbestos, go to the Environmental Protection Agency site and learn how to protect yourself, your family and employees.
Where Can You find Asbestos in Your Home or Business?
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*Picture from The Mesothelioma Group