Does your new home have a deadly secret?
For new homeowners, that new house brings with it a tangle of emotions. You’re thrilled beyond words, scared speechless, and unsure of what to do. You do repairs, fill out a novel’s worth of paperwork, and endure the lengthy moving in process.
Want one more thing to worry about? Asbestos. Often thought of problem of the old days, asbestos remains as deadly as it ever was. Just because it gets less media attention than it used to doesn’t mean its dangers have passed. You may not want to worry about detecting asbestos, but inspecting your house for this deadly material is, in fact, as essential to home-ownership as is getting the plumbing right.
Where is asbestos found?
Asbestos can be found in many common household features and objects. Insulation is a common place to find asbestos. Floor tiling, some paints, roofing, and sound proofing materials may also contain the material. Older homes and buildings are more frequent locations than are newer ones. Remember that asbestos can be found almost anywhere, especially if your home was built before the 1970s.
Read up on common places in which asbestos is found. Monitor these places for wear and tear. Do not touch anything you think may be contaminated. And remember that asbestos does its damage when it enters the lungs. Just breathing this stuff can be a fatal mistake. Whenever you suspect asbestos, call the professionals. They know what to do.
Essential asbestos facts
Health officials stress that, when installed correctly and not damaged, you should leave any asbestos you find alone. The material becomes dangerous when damaged, or when it gets into a position in which it comes into contact with people. Tons of companies used asbestos until the 1970s to make countless numbers of products. This stuff used to be an everyday thing before researchers found out how much damage it could cause.
Belluck & Fox remind us that “all types of asbestos cause mesothelioma and no amount of asbestos exposure is safe.” Mesothelioma is a vicious, often incurable cancer that kills people. Asbestos is a big deal—if it’s in your house and you’re in danger of exposure, you need to get rid of it.
What to do if you find asbestos
Again, if properly installed, and kept in a safe place, asbestos should be left alone. If you find something which contains asbestos, you need to monitor it for damage. If asbestos-containing products are damaged, you may be at risk of exposure. When you’re at risk of exposure, you need to rid your home of this toxic hazard. Do not clean up asbestos yourself. Call a professional. No matter how much of a do-it-yourselfer you are, you should avoid asbestos. No amount of personal pride is worth getting mesothelioma. And don’t worry about the cost—often, professionals will simply seal up the asbestos-containing products, and you won’t need to worry about a lengthy, expensive removal and restoration project (something every new homeowner fears!). Keep an eye out. Make sure you and your family are able to breathe easy!