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*Sharing knowledge is the most fundamental act of friendship. Because it is a way you can give something without loosing something.    Richard Stallman

*All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge. The fun is in making the connections.
Arthur C. Aufderheide

As a Home Inspector, Knowledge means nothing if you don’t share. I like to expedite my clients while I am walking through my inspections. If I can share my experience with them, my experience is more valued. House Expert Home Inspections LLC. is not just a home inspection company, our aim is to help public, undeceive health issues and help to protect our community.

asbestos

the deadly material you could be living with!

Asbestos Main Top
Asbestos Main Top

There are some risks when you take on a new remodelling project around your home. For example, let’s say you plan to renovate your kitchen, and you consider the risks. The risks that come to mind are probably regarding unforeseen expenses, running into a plumbing issue or not measuring your countertops correctly. At the time, these risks can seem big, and when they happen, they can feel catastrophic. The truth is, there are bigger risks many people are dealing with when they renovate their homes. Older homes, specifically those built before 1980, are made with building materials containing asbestos. Asbestos can be deadly. You may not even realize you or your family are exposed, until years later when faced with significant health issues that can be life threatening. Being diagnosed with cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, can really put things into perspective. You can still remodel your home, demo that wall or renovate your kitchen, but it is important to educate yourself on asbestos and contact a professional when needed. To help save you from a deadly oversight, I’m going to give you a brief overview of asbestos, the risks, and what you can do to protect yourself.

what is asbestos ?

Asbestos is a term that describes 6 natural minerals consisting of soft, flexible fibres that are resistant to heat and corrosion. These fibres contain microscopic fibrils that are easily released into the air. Their ability to be resistant to corrosion and heat are why they were commonly used in building materials. Certain jobs are at risk of exposure. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry has reported roughly 27 million workers were exposed between 1940 and 1970. High-risk professions include those who work in construction, home renovations, firefighting, mining, and military service. Before 1980, many homes could have material containing asbestos. Asbestos was commonly used to insulate homes, as it was great to prevent cold weather, noise and fireproof a house. Many common construction items also contained asbestos, including insulation around pipes, shingles and siding, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, plaster, paint or drywall. 

 

Is asbestos used today? 

Although asbestos is not banned in the U.S, it is heavily regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Consumption of asbestos has decreased significantly. Today, products that contain asbestos are typically reserved for items that need to be fireproof or heat resistant, such as spray-on fireproofing, electrical insulation, wall panels, wall and attic insulation. Unfortunately, although use is down, asbestos use and removal is a reoccurring issue. Houses built prior to 1980, when asbestos use was more common, now pose a threat. The owners of these homes may want to do some renovations or remodeling, and they put themselves at risk. For example, they may choose to rip up old floor tiles that could contain asbestos. If they damage these tiles to remove them (e.g. break them), the asbestos fibers could be released, becoming airborne. 

 

Why is asbestos dangerous?

When materials containing asbestos are damaged or disturbed, dangerous fibers are released. The problem occurs when people inhale these fibers. The effects are not often instant and can take time to develop, but they are often fatal when they do. There are three main diseases that are caused by asbestos.

 

  1. Asbestosis: This is scarring of the lung that occurs after consistent exposure. 

This would affect tradesmen or individuals who work with these materials, like home contractors, that may disturb these materials when completing renovations.

  1. Pleural Thickening:  Similar to asbestosis, pleural thickening occurs with heavy exposure. The lungs’ lining becomes thick and swollen, which can cause shortness of breath and significant discomfort.
  2. Mesothelioma Cancer: Mesothelioma cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos.  

Mesothelioma Cancer: Causes and Life Expectancy

There are four types of mesothelioma cancer; pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma and testicular mesothelioma. The two most common types are pleural mesothelioma, which attacks the lining of the lungs, and peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the abdomen’s lining. These two types account for 98% of all mesothelioma cases. Once the fibrils are breathed in, they get trapped in the lungs lining and remain trapped. With time, this can trigger tissue damage that leads to cancer. It can take anywhere from 7 to 70 years after exposure to develop cancer. Like many cancers, several factors contribute. Abnormal cell growth, cellular changes and genetic mutation result from chronic inflammation and cellular injury triggered by the exposure. Life expectancy and the prognosis for these cancers is poor. Patients with pleural mesothelioma are typically diagnosed at stage 3 or 4. Life expectancy with chemo is about 1 year, and a combination of chemo, surgery and radiation could extend life expectancy to 22months. Peritoneal mesothelioma is about the same; however, in some cases, it can be detected earlier and extend life expectancy to longer than 5 years after diagnosis.

 

How to reduce your risk of asbestos exposure?

Whenever you are working on your home, you should consult a professional to test your home for asbestos. If asbestos is found, you must hire a professional to remove it before you start work. Disturbing asbestos can make these small fibres airborne and put both you and your family at risk if they are breathed in. Those who work around asbestos must wear protective equipment and exercise extreme caution. Employers must disclose the presence of asbestos and provide appropriate material such as respirators.

 

Asbestos abatement is a process designed to control the release of asbestos fibres. A trained and accredited asbestos professional is often required by law to remove or repair asbestos materials. Asbestos abatement is highly regulated by the government. Before beginning work, the appropriate state agency must be notified, and hazardous materials must be disposed of properly. Failure to do so, or trying to do it yourself, can leave you with fines and jail time. Those performing asbestos abatement must follow safety precautions and protocols, including sealing off a work area and keeping materials wet. Laws regulate these precautions and protocols and must be adhered to.

 

If you are unsure if the material in your home contains asbestos, you need to call a professional inspector to collect samples. Unless it is clearly labelled, there is no way to know for sure, and the risks are too high.  If you know there are materials in your home that contain asbestos, you should monitor these for signs of damage.

01

where aspestos possibly can be found in a residential house?

Tank insulation

Mostly found in or on heating systems such as around boilers or calorifiers and around pipework.

This was used to insulate industrial and domestic premises so can be found in between cavity walls, under floorboards and in loft spaces.

Textured coatings were used to produce decorative finishes on ceilings and walls. In the past, they have had various trade names such as ‘Artex’.

Asbestos can be found on the ceilings of homes in many different forms, including tiles and textured paint. Many older homes contain “popcorn ceilings,” created by spray-on paint that contained asbestos until the 1980s.

Asbestos floor tiles were once a popular choice for flooring, and you will often find old asbestos floor tiles hidden under carpets.

Asbestos composites can be toilet cisterns and seats, window sills, and bath panels.

behind fuse box

STEAM PIPES, BOILERS, and FURNACE DUCTS insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. CEMENT SHEET, MILLBOARD, and PAPER used as insulation around furnaces and woodburning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibers. So may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulationThese materials may release asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or removed improperly.

Certain wall tiles and textured paints were composed of asbestos fibers until the 1980s. CEMENT SHEET, MILLBOARD, and PAPER used as insulation around furnaces and woodburning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibers. So may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulation

panels below windows

Asbestos can be found in the insulating blanket within the metal cover.

Asbestos floor tiles were once a popular choice for flooring, and you will often find old asbestos floor tiles hidden under carpets.

Asbestos is common in chimneys, furnaces, and wood stoves in homes and other buildings constructed before 1980 because of its abundant use in construction materials in past decades.[1] Asbestos resists fire and heat, which made it useful for insulation in stoves and furnaces.[2] Originally used to make homes safer, these materials may release fibers of asbestos and cause harmful exposure

These are often attached at the end of cement roofs in warehouse type buildings.

Cement soffit panels and Eaves, generally used in Commercial buildings but It is possible to see in residential houses in late 1980’s

These are mainly made up of large sheets of corrugated asbestos cement; they are often found on industrial or farmyard buildings, but can also be found as roofs on garages and sheds. They are often covered in moss and other growths as they’ve been there for many years.

This has a shape and structure similar to roof sheeting, and is often found on walls/as walls of buildings with asbestos cement roofs

Asbestos roofing felt was often used for garage roofs, outbuildings etc. 

Asbestos-in-Residential-Buildings

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