If there's one thing that most homeowners do not want to uncover in their home it has to be asbestos. Not only is asbestos harmful to your health, but it's removal is not as simple, or black and white, as most homeowners think.
When it comes to the removal of this dreaded substance, the best thing you can do is jump on Google and look up ''asbestos removal companies near me''. Because, under no circumstances, should you attempt to remove it yourself.
To learn more about asbestos and the dangers of DIY removal, just keep on reading.
What Is Asbestos, Anyway?
Despite its harmful properties, asbestos is actually a naturally occurring mineral. It comprises soft and flexible fibers that resist corrosion, heat, and electric currents.
As such, this makes asbestos pretty useful in a number of different industries. But it also renders this material highly toxic. Decades ago, when asbestos use was prolific, its intended use was for insulation. It's also used in the manufacturing of different materials to make them stronger, such as cement, plastic, paper, and cloth.
There are two mineral families that apply to asbestos: serpentine and amphibole. Within these two mineral families, asbestos falls into six different mineral categories:
White asbestos also called chrysotile
Brown asbestos also called amosite
Blue asbestos, also known as crocidolite
Tremolite which exists as a contaminant in chrysotile asbestos
Actinolite -- often found in paints, sealants, and drywall
Anthophyllite -- often found in composite flooring, as well as in products containing vermiculite and talc
The danger with asbestos is the inhalation of its mineral fibers. It's these minute fibers that become trapped in the body and cause major harm.
Where Can You Typically Find Asbestos?
You won't usually find asbestos in most newly built homes today. However, it's still quite commonly found in older homes, especially those built before the 1970s and 80s.
Some of the most common materials to contain asbestos include:
A type of loose-fill insulation that contains vermiculite
Many popcorn textured ceilings may contain asbestos fibers
Wall patching compounds and textured paint
Old-school home siding
The insulation of piping, i.e. pipe wraps or tape
Board and paper materials around wood-burning stoves
Tile adhesive, backing, and vinyl floor tiles
If you find any of these materials in your home it's not necessarily a reason to panic. It does not mean that your home is teeming with asbestos fibers because these and similar materials may not contain asbestos at all.
Additionally, undisturbed asbestos does not present an immediate health hazard. It's only when these materials begin to flake, crumble, or deteriorate that you should be concerned.
Nevertheless, if you are unsure of some of the materials in your home and want that peace of mind, look up local asbestos removal companies for a consult and a quote.
Why You Should Never DIY Asbestos Removal
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that there are no federal regulations banning a homeowner from removing asbestos from their home (at present). However, this does not mean that DIY removal is a good idea.
In fact, there are certain laws governing the handling and disposal of asbestos. So if you aren't familiar with these laws, first and foremost, you could find yourself in legal trouble, on top of putting your health at risk.
The Dangers of Handling Asbestos
As mentioned previously, when you disturb asbestos, this is where the harm and risk of exposure is at its greatest. Much like mold spores, asbestos spreads via its many minute fibers that float in the air, which you can inhale.
Once you've inhaled these fibers, they become trapped in your lungs and throughout your body. This can cause irreparable damage. Just some of the health issues associated with asbestos inhalation include:
Inflammation of the tissues inside the body, causing scarring and genetic damage
An aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma -- mostly caused by asbestos exposure
Progressive lung disease
Many other forms of cancer, such as lung and bowel cancer
Pleural thickening of the lining of the lungs
The reality is that asbestos fibers are difficult to see with the naked eye. They are almost 10 times smaller than the width of human hair, so it's difficult to identify these fibers, let alone remove them adequately.
There is a high likelihood that the disturbed fibers will linger in your home and spread from one room to the next if you attempt to remove asbestos on your own. Over time, these lingering fibers can cause serious damage to your own health and that of your family members.
These risks apply to all types of asbestos -- a good rule-of-thumb to go with is that no type of asbestos is off-limits or not harmful. In other words, all forms of asbestos require removal by a professional.
The first thing you need to do is find a local asbestos removal company and call them in to correctly identify that it is, indeed, asbestos.
If this is the case, don't touch or disturb it. The safest thing you can do is leave it alone and wait for trained professionals with the right equipment to remove it.
Not only will an asbestos removal company ensure that the material is handled correctly. But they will also ensure that its removal follows a strict protocol that makes for minimum disturbance and harmful exposure.
Looking for Asbestos Removal Companies Near Me?
Whether you have a suspicion that your home is harboring asbestos, or you've identified the substance, HCI is here to help you with safe and efficient removal.
If you find yourself looking for asbestos removal companies near me, HCI is your local go-to in the Riverside, CA area. With experience in a huge range of waste removal services, you can count on us for your asbestos abatement.