What Is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral. Because asbestos fibres are strong, able to be woven, durable and non-combustible, they were widely used by the construction industry in a variety of products.
Asbestos is found in (older) construction and was used in many building products, including cement products, joints, gaskets, packing, coatings, caulking, sealants, paper products, ceiling tiles, insulation, drywall joint compound, flooring, ductwork, gaskets, electrical installations, vermiculite, and other products. There are clear health hazards relating to the presence of asbestos, and the correct removal is a regulated process. Disturbing asbestos during renovation, demolition or maintenance operations can have serious health impacts.
What products may contain asbestos?
- Drywall, plaster and joint compound
- Vinyl floor tiles, sheeting, adhesives
- Roofing tars, felts, siding, and shingles
- Popcorn ceilings (acoustic ceilings)
- Attic Insulation
- Thermal pipe insulation
- HVAC flexible duct connectors
What is the danger associated with asbestos?
Most people exposed to the small amounts of asbestos we encounter in our daily lives, do not develop health problems. Asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are disturbed, and get into the air that we breathe. Asbestos fibres lodge in the lungs, causing scarring that can ultimately lead to severely impaired lung function (asbestosis) and cancers of the lungs or lung cavity, or mesothelioma. People often put themselves at risk of exposure without realizing it, by not taking proper precautions when doing home repairs or renovations. Examples of repairs or renovations that may disturb asbestos, include:
- Disturbing loose-fill vermiculite insulation
- Removing deteriorating roofing shingles and siding containing asbestos
- Ripping away old asbestos insulation from around a hot water tank
- Sanding or scraping vinyl asbestos floor tiles
- Breaking apart acoustical ceilings tiles containing asbestos
- Sanding plaster containing asbestos, or sanding or disturbing acoustical
- Sanding or scraping older water-based asbestos coatings such as roofing compounds, spackling, sealants, paint, putty, caulking or drywall
What do I do if I suspect Asbestos is in my house?
- Call a licensed asbestos abatement company, such as Enviro-Cor
- Take samples and submit for lab testing and confirmation