Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that many people associate with older homes and never consider that recently constructed dwellings built within their lifetime are produced with asbestos-containing materials. Industries did not recognize the dangers of asbestos until the 1970s, and the United States government did not move to ban most asbestos-containing products until 1989. Today, construction materials such as pipe, shingles, and vinyl tile flooring are just a few of the products that may still contain asbestos composed of imported materials.
Before beginning any home renovation, asbestos testing should be considered or may be required by certain municipalities. Considering the safety of your home renovation and implementing safe renovation procedures is crucial. Testing as a safety measure in home renovations should not be overlooked.
Mitigating Health Hazards
After decades of heavy application of asbestos in commercial, industrial, and construction industries, a generation of workers, many men, began to develop chronic, terminal illnesses from exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, the bodily damage caused by asbestos often does not become apparent until 30 to 40 years after exposure. Testing for asbestos can prevent the development of these diseases linked to asbestos exposure.
- Pleural disease
- Larynx and pharynx cancers
- Stomach cancer
- Cancer of the colorectum
- Ovarian and, in less common cases, testicular cancer
A more concerning fact about asbestos exposure is that the effects do not wane over time. It has been determined that no amount of exposure is safe. Even the small amount of exposure you encounter while renovating your home can cause irreparable damage later.
Proper Removal Practices
Testing for asbestos in your home will allow you to properly prepare for its removal. Asbestos, when it is undisturbed, is safe. The dangers are presented when materials containing asbestos crumble, are disturbed by construction, or become brittle over time.
Testing may determine that the levels of asbestos present in your home could benefit from the services of an asbestos abatement company. Professionals trained in asbestos removal and disposal will perform the task for you, providing the greatest amount of protection from exposure. An asbestos abatement company’s removal practices will also prevent asbestos contamination in the rest of your home.
If you decide to tackle the removal yourself, wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) can ensure you minimize exposure. It is not only important to wear the protective equipment during the removal process but to properly remove the protective equipment from your body and store or dispose of it safely. Secondhand exposure to asbestos fibers is also unsafe.
Ensuring Air Quality and Peace of Mind
Asbestos testing to analyze your home’s air quality will help ensure that asbestos fibers and particulates are not present before renovation begins or allow for the removal before starting, ensuring satisfactory air quality for your family and any contractors performing the renovations. When hiring a home renovation company, ask them about their asbestos testing requirements. Many companies will not begin the renovation process until testing has been completed.
This step is a necessary part of construction to protect employees that repeatedly risk daily asbestos exposure for extended periods. Businesses are responsible to a reasonable degree for the safety of their employees.
Testing can help you properly dispose of construction materials. Before beginning the renovation process, inquire about state and local governmental requirements for properly disposing of waste materials to avoid legal repercussions.
Testing may be required before disposal, so if your materials are not properly secured for dumping, the landfill can refuse to take the debris, leaving you to mitigate the hazardous material. It may seem unnecessary to consider disposal before a renovation begins, but preparation for each stage of the process, including the final phase, can ensure a smoother, safer process.
Prioritizing Your Family’s Health
Asbestos testing is an integral part of keeping your family healthy. There is no way to determine visually if asbestos is present in your home, so testing can safeguard the health of family and friends for many years.
Image Credits: Nolan Issac