Asbestos mostly refers to six silicate minerals occurring naturally. All these minerals contain very thin and long stringy crystals. Each of these fibers is composed of several microscopic strings that are let into the atmosphere through abrasion and other processes.
Asbestos is resistant to heat, corrosion, and electricity. This made it highly effective in its use as an insulator. Asbestos was also added in building materials such as cement, roofing materials, tiles, asbestos adhesive, coating, and sealings or plastics to make it strong.
In as much asbestos can be used in producing various products, it is also harmful to your health. There are thousands of cases diagnosed every year for asbestos-related complications. Here are some of the adverse effects of asbestos:
- it causes a lung condition known as asbestosis: if you inhale small particles of this mineral, it settles in your lungs. It is fatal in the long run.
- It can also cause Mesothelioma which is a malignant tumor. Its symptoms include having chest pains and shortness of breath.
- It can also cause lung cancer, ovarian cancer and Laryngeal Cancer.
- It causes Pleural thickening mostly after you have been exposed to asbestos heavily. Pleura is the lining of the lungs.
Asbestos can be released into the atmosphere when materials containing this mineral are disturbed especially during demolitions, building, repairs or home remodeling. There are also people who come directly into contact with asbestos due to the nature of their work. Such include:
- Maintenance workers
- Demolition workers
- Construction workers
- Asbestos testers among many others.
It is important to conduct an asbestos test in your building or in your home. There are various places that may contain asbestos in your house, such are:
- In-wall insulations and attic containing vermiculite
- Vinyl sheet flooring and tiles including adhesives
- In the roof
- Walls and floors that are secured with asbestos paper
- Steam pipes are coated with asbestos material.
- Coal and oil furnaces that are coated with asbestos tape or blanket.
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Asbestos testing helps you identify if there are materials containing these minerals in the building. You are also able to identify if there is any damage causing the asbestos to become airborne. In the event of any remodeling, you can prevent any damage that can cause any aerosolizing thus causing harm to anyone around the building. It is also recommended for old buildings to undergo regular asbestos testing as building materials in the past contained a lot of this component.
You can search for local asbestos testers if you are planning to engage in such a project. There are various asbestos testing methods that can be applied. Such include:
- Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) Counting Method
- Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act or AHERA
- PCM-Equivalent (PCME) Counting Method
- ISO 10312 Counting Method
You can also purchase an asbestos testing kit which you can use to run some tests in your building. These tests may not be 100%, however, they are effective. A DIY test kit is also cheap as compared to a full laboratory test. It is also easier to use. This test works in two steps:
- Purchasing the kit and collecting samples in the house or areas suspected to have asbestos.
- Mailing the kit to a laboratory where they run the tests and send them to you with given duration.
It is, however, advisable to employ the services of a professional. Local asbestos testers or professionals are required to have gone through an asbestos testing training. This equips them with the necessary skills required in asbestos remediation. Some of the benefits of hiring an asbestos abatement professional are:
- Well-equipped in collecting samples professionally hence you do not endanger your health.
- They run all the toxic tests properly while following all the guidelines and precautions.
- They always carry the best equipment for collecting the samples.
- They have the necessary equipment for removing asbestos.
- They are well equipped in keeping others from exposure.
They are precautions that you are advised to take if you are suspecting that an area has been contaminated with asbestos. Such include:
- Making sure that you keep any children out of such an area to keep them safe.
- It is good to limit or eradicate any activities in that section. Any prolonged exposure to asbestos will damage your health.
- You are also advised to immediately contact a local asbestos tester. They will be able to assist with removal of this harmful component.
- You should not sweep or vacuum such an area as this could lead to aerosolization of the asbestos. Breathing in such materials is widely known to adversely affect your health.
- You are also advised not to get rid of any suspicious materials. Coming into contact with such items may compromise your health in the long run.