Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber. It can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.

How Can Asbestos Affect My Health? 

Three of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure are:

  1. Lung Cancer 
  2. Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest and the abdomen and heart 
  3. Asbestosis, a serious progressive, long-term, non-cancer disease of the lungs 

The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increases with the number of fibres inhaled.
The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibres is also greater if you smoke. People who get asbestosis have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 10 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.
Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop these health problems. However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibres, which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibres can remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of disease. Asbestos material that would crumble easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is much more likely to create a health hazard.


Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found Houses?

STEAM PIPES, BOILERS, and FURNACE DUCTS insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. These materials may release asbestos fibres if damaged, repaired, or removed improperly.

RESILIENT FLOOR TILES (vinyl asbestos, asphalt, and rubber), the backing on VINYL SHEET FLOORING, and ADHESIVES used for installing floor tile. Sanding tiles can release fibers. So may scraping or sanding the backing of sheet flooring during removal.

PATCHING AND JOINT COMPOUNDS for walls and ceilings, and TEXTURED PAINTS. Sanding, scraping, or drilling these surfaces may release asbestos.
SOUNDPROOFING OR DECORATIVE MATERIAL sprayed on walls and ceilings. Loose, crumbly, or water-damaged material may release fibres. So will sanding, drilling, or scraping the material.
RESIDENTIAL CEMENT ROOFING, SHINGLES, and SIDING. These products are not likely to release asbestos fibres unless sawed, drilled, or cut.
ARTIFICIAL ASHES AND EMBERS sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces. Also, other older household products such as FIREPROOF GLOVES, STOVE-TOP PADS, IRONING BOARD COVERS, and certain HAIRDRYERS.
CEMENT SHEET, MILLBOARD, and PAPER used as insulation around furnaces and wood-burning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibres. So may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulation.
DOOR GASKETS in furnaces, wood stoves, and coal stoves. Worn seals can release asbestos fibers during use.

Asbestos Do’s and Don’ts for the Homeowner

  • Do find out whether asbestos materials are present before you have your home remodelled or renovated if it might disturb suspect material. 
  • Do keep activities to a minimum in any areas having damaged material that may contain asbestos. 
  • Do take every precaution to avoid damaging asbestos material. 
  • Do have removal and major repair done by people trained and qualified in handling asbestos. It is highly recommended that sampling and minor repair also be done by asbestos professionals. 
  • Don’t dust, sweep, or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos. 
  • Don’t saw, sand, scrape, or drill holes in asbestos materials. 
  • Don’t use abrasive pads or brushes on power strippers to strip wax from asbestos flooring. Never use a power stripper on a dry floor. 
  • Don’t sand or try to level asbestos flooring or its backing. 
  • Don’t track material that could contain asbestos through the house. If the material is from a damaged area, or if a large area must be cleaned, call an asbestos professional. 

By Mrjef

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