If you like home renovations, you’re no stranger to knocking your walls down, drilling, and even fixing tiles. However, while you may enjoy making your house beautiful – or those of others if you’re a professional renovator, you may be exposing yourself to asbestos. Asbestos is made of naturally occurring fibrous silicate used construction products.
So you have material mixed with asbestos throughout your house. When these products sustain damage, microscopic fibrils enter the atmosphere. These thin fibers are toxic to inhale, and long-term exposure can lead to cancer. Hence, while renovating, you need to be mindful of a few things in your house. Here’s how you can ensure you work around asbestos and avoid exposure:
Don’t touch asbestos
Suppose you feel like you can see traces of asbestos, such as a damaged, brittle insulation material in the drywall. Even if you think you can handle it, you should avoid going anywhere near. Look up asbestos professionals online who can help you get rid of these products. A professional can also help you confirm if you have asbestos in other components of your house.
Get yourself tested
You may be inhaling asbestos unknowingly, especially if you’re living in a seemingly run-down house constructed before the 1980s. In that case, you need to reach out to your primary care provider and get yourself tested. A doctor can guide you better on mesothelioma symptoms and how risky it is for you. Also, hire a professional to get rid of all asbestos products from your current home or move into a new living space. Don’t prolong exposure even if you have minimal asbestos quantities in your home.
Be mindful of the way you dispose of asbestos
You can’t get rid of asbestos the traditional way. Your waste disposal system should only get rid of regular wastes such as those from your everyday use. If you mix stable waste and asbestos products, you expose a larger population to toxic fibers. A professional asbestos removal company can guide you on getting rid of these products or get rid of them for you. Your dumpster and recycling bin should only contain garbage that will not hurt anyone if they are exposed to it.
Don’t clean asbestos products
You may think that if you sweep asbestos off, you can get rid of it. That’s not the case. Your cleaning products can get tangled with asbestos fibers. As a result, when you clean other spaces of your house, you end up spreading more of these airborne fibers exposing yourself to greater risk. It would help to avoid damaging products that contain asbestos while regular cleaning activities. Abrasion can cause fibrils to break off and spread in the air.
Curb your curiosity
You may feel like getting your science on if you have asbestos in your house. However, never collect and test samples unless you are a trained professional. You can mishandle the sample and the apparatus and may cause more damage than good.
Let professionals clean your space
Only professionals can repair asbestos-ridden spaces. They can also determine if there is too much asbestos, they will either remove it or conceal it. However, avoid doing it yourself. If you feel demolition is the only solution, get the appropriate approval from your government and then work on your property. You should always hire professionals with substantial experience to make quick work of the process.
How can asbestos spread?
You can spread asbestos when you’re not careful while renovating and don’t know how many products contain asbestos. Companies can use them in construction materials. It could be in products such as insulation material. Here are some possible ways you can cause an exposure:
Usually, when remodeling different parts of your house, especially the attic, you may cause an asbestos breakout. Asbestos is present in the insulation material packed behind the drywall. When you renovate them, the asbestos can crumble and fall on the ground. In addition, when you get rid of old insulation in your garbage, you increase the risk of exposure. So if you plan on renovating your space, you need to get a professional to verify if the walls are safe to drill. Never attempt a renovation before confirming your house is secure and you have approval.
Older brakes may contain asbestos. If you have a vintage car, you may notice that brake drums may have a layer of dust on them. This dust may contain asbestos. So when you go around cleaning your brake drums by banging them and using an air compressor, it can release toxic fibers into the air. While you may find this method easier to give your brakes a quick clean, in the long run, this is dangerous. The best way to take care of your car is to take it to a professional who knows how to handle it while being mindful of such risks.
Drilling into asbestos
If you want to hang paintings in your home, always check the walls first. You want to know what material is in the insulation. If you drill into asbestos, you risk fibers becoming airborne, which is dangerous since prolonged exposure increases the risk of developing health problems. Debris on the floor can also spread around your house when you sweep them.
Tiles, especially vinyl, contain asbestos. If you have a generational house, it probably has vinyl tiles installed. When you start removing them with a scraper, you loosen the asbestos and spread the fibers. The best way to renovate flooring is to install the new one over the existing one. This method is far safer and also less time-consuming.
Removing popcorn ceiling
Popcorn ceiling takes tremendous work to remove. In most cases, you will need eye protection and a dust mask to scrape and sand while re-doing the roof. Popcorn ceiling contains microfibers of asbestos. So, if you attempt to remove/repair it, you’ll be spreading microfibers all over the place. Hiring a professional may cost you extra money, but it is the safest option. Don’t compromise your health for the sake of cheap renovations.
Insulation on pipes
Most pipes contain insulation that has asbestos. The insulation can deteriorate with them, especially around hot pipes. So if you try replacing old insulation by cutting into it, you risk releasing fibers. It is best if you don’t take matters into your own hands. If you know that the house you’re living in is old and the insulation needs repair, call professionals to get the job done.
Asbestos can spread via air if you’re not careful. The fibers expose you to the risk of developing mesothelioma – a highly lethal form of cancer. Have a professional survey your property to determine asbestos levels before renovating it. Don’t attempt any renovation projects that require you to scrape, drill, and cut without proper help, safety, and approval. Suppose you accidentally damage any product that may contain asbestos. In that case, you should move back and get professional help to ensure you can safely remove it. In addition, don’t attempt to clean the space and risk further spreading the asbestos. Last but not least, always ensure proper disposal of asbestos products to prevent cross-contamination.