Finding asbestos within your house is a scary event for most homeowners. Besides, asbestos removal is not a cut-and-dry event, as some people consider it to be. Asbestos has been associated with mesothelioma, lung diseases, and asbestosis, all of which are caused by breathing asbestos fibers. Mesothelioma involves a deadly type of cancer, while asbestosis primarily irritates and scars the lung tissues.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos originates from a Greek word that means inextinguishable. It involves an inexpensive and highly-effective fire-retardant material and thermal and acoustic insulator. Generally, asbestos was used largely in home construction from 1940 to the 1970s.
Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral made up of six naturally occurring minerals comprising heat-resistant fibers.
Normally, asbestos material is not hazardous when in good condition since it does not release asbestos fibers. However, if the material is damaged and goes unnoticed, it may cause health problems that might even be fatal. Therefore, you should not disturb any asbestos material if you have it in your home. Also, constantly inspect it to ensure it is always in good condition.
Is Asbestos Health Hazardous?
Yes. Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to diseases such as lung cancer when inhaled. Most homes built before 1975 comprise asbestos as one of their components since they were mainly used as thermal insulators on basement pipes and boilers.
Nevertheless, they can also be found in other household materials, such as:
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Window glazing and caulking
- Siding material
- Some paints
- Roofing materials
- Blown-in attic insulation etc.
What are the Safest Ways to Remove Asbestos from Your Home?
Hiring an asbestos removal company is the easiest and safest way to eliminate asbestos from your home. Usually, these companies are well-equipped with specialized materials and tools and sufficient experience in dealing with asbestos.
However, numerous homeowners still wonder if it is legal and possible to conduct asbestos removal on their own with the aim of cutting costs. According to the Environment Protection Agency, there are no federal rules that restrict homeowners from removing these materials from their homes yet. Nevertheless, it is crystal clear that an average individual should not engage in asbestos removal under any circumstances. This is because there are strict regulations pertaining to the handling and disposal of asbestos-containing materials.
While no specific federal rules restrict homeowners from removing asbestos-containing materials on their own, EPA recommends hiring qualified professionals to conduct the activity. This is because the substance is extremely harmful to human health and could even cause death.
On the other hand, different cities, counties, and states may have varying laws about removing asbestos on your own. Some will require a homeowner to get permits, such as the conventional demolition permit in Seattle, Washington. Therefore, it is challenging to generalize the legality of personal removal of asbestos at home.
If your house contains asbestos materials, you should always leave them alone undisturbed. Besides, asbestos-containing materials will not be health hazardous when in good condition. Also, you can regularly inspect your home to ensure asbestos fibers are not released.
Remember, it is best to contact a professional for asbestos removal.