Regarded as a miracle material capable of supporting a wide range of uses, asbestos found its way in a variety of products up to the early 1980’s. Things such as felt, gloves, and even waterproof jackets have contained asbestos. It often appeared in products used in construction, refractory bricks, cooling towers, roofs, masonry fill, and turbines.
Today, asbestos may still be present in homes and workplaces as drywall, insulation, and some household products. This is if it occurred before the key difficulty in protecting against it in the 1970’s.
The best defence is in understanding the types of products in which asbestos may still be present. Some products are known for including asbestos, such as roofs and tiles made of asbestos cement, oil and coal furnaces.
Houses built between 1930 and 1950 are at particular risk, as many contain asbestos insulation whereby the hot water and steam pipes may be affected.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural fibre and is dangerous only if disintegrates and becomes brittle. If this is the case, then it can cause serious health problems when it is breathed into the lungs.
For years, asbestos was used to protect homes, schools and other buildings against fire and noise to insulate them. It was also used in floor tiles, roofing materials, car parts and other products. It is not possible to tell if something has asbestos just by looking at it. Read more here.
Where is asbestos?
Here are some places around the home that may have asbestos:
• Ceilings, roofing and exterior cladding
• Insulation of houses built between 1930 and 1950
• Tiles and vinyl flooring
• Oil and coal boilers
• Piping water hot and steamy in older homes
• Paintings textured and patching compounds for walls and ceilings boards
• Artificial ashes and embers for gas log fireplaces
• Walls and floors around wood burning stoves
• What can you do to protect your child against asbestos
If you think your home may contain asbestos, hire a professional inspector. Do not touch, remove, shake or bar things that may have asbestos.
If your home contains asbestos that is in good condition, it may be advisable to leave it untouched. The inspector will advise you what to do. If necessary remove the asbestos, hire a licensed contractor to do the work and for safe and legal asbestos removal. Do not do it yourself.