Asbestos, though potentially deadly as a carcinogen, is a very useful product. For this reason, it is very likely to be all around us, in many buildings built before 2000. Learn how to reduce the risk of asbestos exposure in your home below.
When is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos is dangerous when present in the air we breathe. It is especially problematic when we are exposed to it over long period of time in large concentrations but even less intensive exposure to the fibres can be result in asbestos-related diseases.
If asbestos fibres are disturbed, they are released into the air, where they become health hazards. Disturbing asbestos fibres can occur often in subtle ways. Firstly, asbestos containing materials are a diverse group of products. Furthermore, asbestos is difficult to detect without laboratory testing because it doesn’t have a distinct smell or colour. It doesn’t even have a distinct ‘look’ because it is most often mixed with other minerals in one product.
Get Help From The Experts
Make sure you get your home tested for asbestos if it was built before 2000. This must be done before you begin renovations or any other action that could disturb asbestos fibres if they are present. Call an experienced contractor trained in asbestos to inspect your home and complete required laboratory tests.
Do not remove asbestos products by yourself. You should call a contractor who knows how to handle the hazardous material properly to minimize risk for everyone. While this can be expensive, it is worth it to protect your health.
Keeping Yourself Safe
If you think there is asbestos in your house, seal of the area temporarily until workers arrive to remove it. Or, if the asbestos is isolated, do not disturb it so the fibres will not get into the air.
During asbestos removal, workers should take maximum precautions to keep themselves and others in the area safe. This includes keeping dust in the work area by reducing air pressure and keeping the area moist as well as wearing protective equipment like approved facemasks and other protective clothing that is washed separate from regular clothes.
Again, asbestos removal should only be done by a qualified expert in order to protect everyone’s health.
Asbestos warning sign: remember to protect yourself
Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (2013). Asbestos. Retrieved June 2013 from http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/maho/yohoyohe/inaiqu/inaiqu_001.cfm.
Wastech. (ND). Asbestos Disposal Control. Retrieved June 2013 from http://www.wastech.ca/uploads/Wastech%20asbestos%20info%20May2012.pdf.pdf.