Asbestos, The 411

In the Know

Asbestos became popular with manufactures for its physical properties between 1900-1970. The large draw of asbestos was its abilities in sound absorption, strength, and most common was its resistance to fire and heat. Asbestos manufacturing has been phased out, banned, or overly restricted since the 1990s.

Common Locations

Homes dating back before 1980 were built with products which may contain asbestos. These products include floor tile, ceiling tiles, roof shingles and flashing, exterior siding, and insulation (around boilers, pipes, and duct work). In farm buildings it is in joint compound and caulking. With any remodel it may be best to test for asbestos to prevent any harmful exposure.

Health Effects

The length of exposure to asbestos is the concerning factor most doctors state. When inhaled, asbestos’s glass like fibers scratch the interior of your lungs causing scarring and stiffening. One or two exposures yield no worry, but it is exposure from 10-40 years that leads to lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Testing and Abatement

Most general contractors will not get involved for liability reasons if asbestos is a potential threat. When looking into testing and removal some company’s won’t do both, so be knowledgeable of this. It is a must to see all records and documentations of the asbestos levels in your house.

Check to be sure any professional you hire meets any licensing requirements for your state or municipality.

Asbestos abatement (removal) has an extensive set up procedure. What is required in the removal is fully sealing off the room with multiple layers of plastic, workers have to walk through a wash off station upon entering and exiting the sealed area, respirators are to be worn, all materials wetted down to control dust and particle movement. Cost of abatement can vary depending on the scope of the work.

~ Jordan Crusing, Junior Technician

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