What it is
Asbestos is the generic name for variety of fibrous minerals found naturally. It can only be identified under special type of microscope. Asbestos was added to many products in the past to strengthen them and to provide insulation and fire resistance.
What are the risks
Breathing high levels of Asbestos can cause cancer of lungs (Mesothelioma) and can cause scarring of the lungs. The risk increases with the amount of asbestos fibres inhaled and duration of exposure. Furthermore, people who smoke are at higher risk than non-smokers. The symptoms of the disease usually does not appear until 20 to 30 years of first exposure to asbestos. Most people exposed to small quantities of asbestos in their daily lives do not develop any problems.
Where it can be found in a Home
Asbestos is usually found in older homes in!
. Roofing and siding
. Insulation (Attic, hot water pipes etc)
. Textured paints, patching compounds
. Old stove pads
. Vinyl floor tiles and backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
. Hot water pipes insulation and tapes.
. Oil and coal furnaces and door gasket.
. Roofing tiles
How to identify it
Asbestos can't be identified visually. if in doubt contact certified professional, who will take samples to be analysed in the laboratory. Asbestos fibres can only be detected under special microscope.
What needs to be done about itDon't panic if you think asbestos is present in your house. The best thing to do is not to disturb asbestos material. Asbestos material in good condition will not release asbestos fibres. There is not much danger unless asbestos is disturbed and fibres are released. Check material regularly if you suspect it may contain asbestos. Don't touch it, but look for signs of wear or damage, such as tears, abrasions or water damage. Damaged material may release asbestos fibers. Consult with asbestos certified professional for further evaluation and advise and if and when you plan to do any remodelling or construction in your house.
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