How To Safely Deal With Asbestos In Your Home

by Joe Cline

Handling asbestos safelyWorried about asbestos that may be in your home? Asbestos fiber exposure has a lot of associated health risks, so it is always important that a homeowner who thinks a material may contain asbestos proceed with as much caution as possible.

While manufacturers don’t currently use asbestos to make anything, many of the homes and buildings built in the 1970’s were built with asbestos in the materials as a fire safety precaution. Asbestos can be found in many different parts of homes built during this era, including the insulating paper tape and blankets used for water heaters and heating ducts, and many of the glues and materials used to create floor tiles, roofing shingles, and jointing areas. Any of the insulating materials around appliances in the kitchen may contain asbestos, and the materials that are sprayed onto walls and ceilings for soundproofing and decoration may also be carriers.

If you suspect materials in your home that are in good condition may contain unreleased asbestos fiber, the Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests simply leaving these materials alone. Try to avoid handling and brushing against anything that may contain asbestos, and check the area frequently to make sure there are no rips, tears, or chips in anything you think may have asbestos in it. If the area can be easily avoided, the CPSC suggests simply leaving it alone even if there are small cracks and tears.

When To Have It Checked

If you notice an area of your home that may contain asbestos has any form of damage that might release fibers, you need to have the area checked by a professional. Contact a professional asbestos inspector to take a sample, and take safety precautions before the sample is taken to make sure you are not exposed to fibers from the sample area.

What To Do While Waiting For Repair Or Removal

When you have a damaged area with asbestos in your home and you’re waiting for professional repair or removal, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. Avoid the area where the asbestos materials are located as much as possible. Try to avoid activity in that area, and do not to disturb the damaged material. Never attempt to sweep or vacuum an area that you suspect may contain debris from asbestos containing materials. Don’t sand the area, drill the area, or perform any other repairs before the professional deals with the problem.

Asbestos can be frightening, but with the right precautions it doesn’t need to be dangerous to you or your family. As long as you regularly inspect any areas of your home that may contain asbestos and call in a professional if you suspect a problem, you should never need to worry about exposing your home to this dangerous substance. If your 1970’s era home hasn’t been checked for asbestos, it is always best to assume that the material is present and avoid making home repairs or renovations until you have it professionally inspected.