Asbestos was very popular between the '40s and the '80s for its resistance to fires, insulating capability, as well as its durability. Homes that were constructed after 1990 are unlikely to have any products containing asbestos, but if your home was built before that year, then it is highly likely that most products used in its construction did contain this harmful substance. While the presence of asbestos in the home does not necessarily pose a risk to health and safety, it is nonetheless important to know how to manage if it does become a problem over time.
Here are some ways in which to manage asbestos problems in the home.
1. Check the condition of the asbestos-containing material.
When suspecting an asbestos problem in the home, the first thing that should be done is to do an ocular inspection. Check the condition of the material that contains the harmful substance, and see if it’s still in intact. If it looks to be in good shape and have little possibility of being disturbed, then there’s no need to do anything – at all. Moving or attempting to repair any asbestos material that is otherwise in good condition can only disturb the asbestos in it.
2. Repair or Remove
If you’ve determined that there is a problem, then it can either be repaired or removed. A repair can either mean covering or sealing the asbestos material. Covering involves positioning something around or over the material in order to prevent it from releasing asbestos fibers, while sealing or encapsulation usually involves the use of a sealant to treat and coat the material so that fibers cannot be released. Doing a repair is a quick and cheaper way of managing an asbestos problem, albeit temporarily.
On the other hand, removing the asbestos material can be costly, but it does have the advantage over a repair as this totally eliminates it from the home for good. Whether you opt to repair or remove the asbestos material, both cases should be handled by a professional with asbestos safety training and certifications.
3. When in doubt, always call a professional.
It may be difficult to determine whether there is an asbestos problem in the home, or if it is even an asbestos-containing material to begin with. In such cases, avoid trying to manage the situation yourself – call a professional.
As an added precaution, never sweep, dust, or vacuum any debris that may contain asbestos as this would disturb and release tiny asbestos fibers into the air. Once inhaled, these could lodge onto the surfaces of the lungs, and cause serious diseases – most notably cancer. Don’t risk it - call in a professional to do the disposing.