Identifying Asbestos in Siding
Asbestos was used for its insulating and fire-resistant properties for many decades, but since the late 1970s has been phased out as a material used in homes in the U.S. due to increased awareness of its dangers. Though residential homes are no longer made with asbestos-containing materials, many homes built prior to the late 1970s, and in some cases homes built after 1980 due to unscrupulous contractors, are likely to contain asbestos.
Asbestos comes from fibrous minerals found in the earth’s crust, with strands of microscopic width, and which when breathed in may get lodged into the lungs and respiratory tract, leading to serious illnesses such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
If a homeowner suspects that his or her home siding contains asbestos,
the homeowner may contact certified professionals to test the siding to determine if that is the case. Generally, if one is to discover that asbestos has been used in one’s home for siding, it should not be a cause for panic if the material is still in good shape. It may even be best to leave the material alone rather than to tamper with or remove it depending on the condition. The risks with asbestos-containing products arise when the material breaks apart or deteriorates, which may allow fibers to be released into the air and breathed in by occupants or visitors to the home.
If the asbestos siding is breaking or cracking apart, it is important that the siding be dealt with as quickly as possible to minimize potential health risks from exposure. Regulations on asbestos abatement vary from state to state, though due to the risk of improperly handling asbestos from lack of training, it is highly recommended that one hire certified professionals such as ourselves, United Home Experts, for asbestos removal. Certified professionals have specialized equipment which protects them from airborne fibers.
In asbestos abatement a water-sprayer is used, with the water mixed with detergent, to wet the asbestos in a manner such that fibers are less likely to go airborne during removal. Special waste disposal bags are used to ensure that fibers do not escape into the air, and duct tape is used to seal these bags once they are filled. Plastic strips are placed along the house to mark the hazardous workspace that others must avoid, and stickers may be used to indicate areas with asbestos. Among the equipment worn by certified professionals to remove asbestos are goggles, a respirator, a disposable coverall, rubber gloves taped to sleeves, and rubber boots. The coverall and gloves are disposed of in a safe manner once the asbestos is removed. One must make sure, while work on asbestos removal is taking place, not to allow family, guests or pets to get in or near work areas or equipment which may contain asbestos or trace amounts of it.
We at United Home Experts will give you the best recommendation on how to deal with asbestos siding if you desire to paint your home or update the siding.
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