Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once widely used in construction materials because of its excellent insulating properties. However, its use was restricted in the 1980s after research linked it to serious and life-threatening illnesses.
Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers can significantly increase the risk of developing serious health conditions, such as asbestosis, malignant mesothelioma, and other cardiovascular diseases.
For decades, construction products containing asbestos were used in homes. A recent report suggested that 33% of houses in Australia still contain this toxic material. It indicates that Australians still face an ongoing risk of asbestos exposure in their homes. Therefore, it is important to identify the presence of asbestos-containing materials in your home to ensure a safe living environment.
Below are six signs that may indicate the existence of such materials within your home.
1. Your House is Old
The first clue to whether your home might have asbestos-containing materials is its age.
If you live in an old house built before the 1980s, your house is more likely to contain asbestos. Because of its insulating properties, asbestos was used in various building materials, including fireplaces, roofing materials, and boilers. In older homes, you can also find asbestos in other materials, such as sidings, ducts, floor tiles, and ceiling tiles.
If any of these building elements gets damaged, it can release tiny asbestos fibers into the air. When you breathe it in, the fibers can be lodged in your lungs. Over time, it causes inflammation and scarring. This leads to serious health problems such as mesothelioma and other respiratory diseases.
Luckily, you can easily find several reputable companies actively working to address the asbestos issues in Australia. These professional offers safe asbestos removal with a comprehensive range of services, including asbestos inspection, sampling, testing, and safe disposal.
2- Corrugated Roofing in Your Home
Corrugated roofing sheets that were manufactured before 1980 may contain asbestos. Asbestos was used in corrugated roofing sheets because it made the material more durable, heat-resistant, and weather-proof. However, asbestos is a known carcinogen, and exposure to asbestos fibers can increase the risk of developing serious health problems, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
If you live in a home with corrugated roofing sheets that were manufactured before 1980, there is a chance that the sheets contain asbestos. The asbestos fibers could be released into the air if the sheets are damaged, such as from a storm or fire. Inhaling these fibers can cause serious health problems.
If you are concerned that your home’s corrugated roofing sheets may contain asbestos, you should have them tested by a qualified professional. If the sheets contain asbestos, they should be removed and disposed of properly by a professional asbestos removal company.
3- Vinyl Flooring in Your Home
Vinyl flooring is still a popular choice for numerous households worldwide. With its attractive appearance, long-lasting nature, and budget-friendly appeal, it’s no surprise that many homeowners choose this flooring option. However, it’s essential to be cautious if your house is old and has vinyl flooring.
Vinyl flooring that was manufactured before 1986 may contain asbestos. If this flooring is damaged or disturbed, it could release asbestos fibers into the air. These fibers can be inhaled and can cause serious health problems, including asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
If your home has damaged or broken vinyl flooring, it may indicate possible asbestos exposure. In such cases, it is essential to take immediate action to assess the situation and ensure the safety of everyone living in the home.
4- Damaged Insulation Pipes
Pipe insulation is a material used to cover pipes in buildings to keep them warm and prevent heat loss. Asbestos was once commonly used in pipe insulation because it was a good insulator and fire retardant.
If your house is older, it might have pipes with insulation containing asbestos. These insulated pipes can be found in the basement or utility areas. Asbestos in pipe insulation can become dangerous when it gets damaged or deteriorates over time.
If you suspect there might be asbestos-containing pipe insulation in your home, replace it with fiberglass insulation. However, before doing it, seek assistance from a qualified professional.
5- Your House has Popcorn Ceiling
Popcorn ceilings were a popular design choice once. They have a unique, bumpy texture using a special spray-on or paint-on mixture.
Popcorn ceilings can be a potential sign of asbestos presence in your home. If your house was built before the 1980s, chances are even higher. During that period, contractors sometimes added asbestos fibers to the ceiling texture for fire-resistant properties.
If you suspect your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, take swift action. Do not attempt to test or remove the ceiling yourself, as disturbing asbestos can be hazardous. Instead, hire a professional asbestos inspector to collect a sample for testing in a certified laboratory. If asbestos is confirmed, hire a licensed specialist. They will safely take care of the popcorn ceiling, either removing it or encapsulating it.
6- Outdated HVAC Ducts
Asbestos was once commonly used in the insulation of heating and cooling ducts because it was fire-resistant and helped to save energy. If your house has an older heating and cooling system, it might contain asbestos in the duct insulation.
It’s essential to be cautious and avoid DIY repairs that might disturb the duct insulation. Instead, consult a professional HVAC technician who can safely inspect the system. If asbestos is suspected, they’ll know how to handle it correctly and ensure the safety of your household.
Asbestos exposure can be life-threatening and put you and your family at risk. Being aware of these signs will assist you in promptly identifying and testing for asbestos in your residence. If you find asbestos in your home, hiring a reliable company is crucial to carry out the safe removal process.
Even though well-maintained asbestos materials may not pose an immediate threat, it’s still essential to regularly inspect them. This will ensure your family’s safety from potential health hazards.