When To Perform Asbestos Testing in Your Home – Health Info

You may have heard of the adverse health effects of asbestos. It is a naturally occurring mineral. The issue for health is the nature of its fibers, which are long and thin, and the impact they have on the lungs, which results in mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer and is a top cause of death for construction workers. For the individual homeowner, asbestos testing is necessary if there is a chance that your home might have asbestos.

Recognizing asbestos: ceiling tiles

Recognizing asbestos: ceiling tiles

Asbestos is fine if it is left untouched. Though, if you want to remove a popcorn ceiling or re-insulate or re-side your home, for instance, its presence is relevant to you. Asbestos was used as insulation and as a fire resistant material starting in the 1930s. Its manufacture ceased in 1984, and asbestos remained on the market until 1990. That means if you have a home built between 1930 and 1990, you will want to get an at-home asbestos testing kit, or hire someone to test your home for you.

Asbestos Testing Process

Every kit may be different, but the same basic principles will apply. The basic idea is to get the sample without kicking up fibers in the building materials on the suspected asbestos.

Recognizing asbestos: around piping

Recognizing asbestos: around piping

So, start by shutting down the air or heating system. Spritz the material you will sample with detergent-water to protect against letting the asbestos release. Cut out a sample of the material to be tested (paint chip, insulation material, roof shingle, siding, etc.) For a ceiling, just one teaspoon is necessary, whereas for more solid materials, such as flooring and siding, secure a one-square-inch sample. Seal the sample in a container, and label it with the proper identification. Send it in for testing.

The idea is to test beforehand to prevent movement of the fibers. This will prevent disease. Also, if your home does have asbestos, ensure that you hire a firm that is at the top of the list for safety because safe handling and removal are key where asbestos is concerned.

The one bit of bright light is that considering how prevalent asbestos use was, the rate of cancer is relatively low by comparison. Safe handling is necessary when dealing with asbestos, and it is not a do-it-yourself job. A professional asbestos testing company is specially trained and knows how to dispose properly of asbestos so that it does not create a further environmental hazard.