What Should I Know About Asbestos?

Since 1989, when the Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of asbestos in construction materials, there has been a growing awareness of its dangers. However, many people do not have a clear understanding of when they should be concerned and how to eliminate the danger of asbestos if it is present in one’s home. Even the process of removing it can be extremely dangerous to homeowners if they lack the training and specialized equipment to do it safely. Also, materials that are known to contain asbestos cannot simply be placed in the alley dumpster for weekly removal by the neighborhood trash company.

A professional asbestos removal company, like an asbestos removal company in Los Angeles, CA, can analyze samples of materials to determine if they contain the cancer-causing material, and provide recommendations on how to mitigate the danger without necessarily removing the materials. The same professional can provide a quote for eliminating asbestos from the home or office. The asbestos removal contractor’s trained technicians can remove the material in such a way that it is safe for those who live or work in the building, and make downtime is as minimal as possible.

What is asbestos, and why was it used in construction if it’s so dangerous?
Asbestos is a natural mineral that occurs in rock formations as clumps of thick fibers. When the fibers are separated, they can be used in numerous ways. The fact that asbestos is chemical and heat resistant and does not conduct electricity made it especially attractive to manufacturers of construction materials and to their consumers.

Where is asbestos commonly located in homes and commercial buildings?
There is a wide variety of construction materials that included asbestos and were commonly used in the building of homes and office buildings. This is what can make it challenging and scary for building owners when they realize the dangers of asbestos and need to know if and where it is present. A professional asbestos removal company is required to have special training, certifications, and equipment to detect and safely remove contaminated materials. Even without removing samples from your building, they can usually provide insight as to whether or not there is likely to be asbestos present, and in which materials. If they take samples from suspected materials such as old floor or ceiling tiles, insulation, and cement, they can have them analyzed in a lab.

Why is asbestos harmful?
Asbestos is considered dangerous under some, but not all, circumstances. The danger arises when the asbestos fibers are released into the air. When this occurs, occupants of the building could possibly inhale those fibers. Though they are very small and often visually undetectable, the fibers wreak havoc when they embed into the lining of the lungs. Over time, the individual may develop lung scarring, tissue damage, and lung disease. Mesothelioma is one type of fatal lung disease associated with asbestos exposure, and there is not currently a cure for it.

If the building in question was constructed before 1990, it may be best to play it safe and consult a respected asbestos removal company for insight as to what, if any, danger exists from the presence of asbestos.

Thanks to Nielsen Environmental for their insight into some of the basic facts about asbestos.