Hey everyone! In lieu of a normal blog post of mine today I’m going to present to you a post from Safepact.com blog reader Brian Turner. Brian is a health advocate and blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance and has graciously volunteered to do a post. Thanks Brian!
Avoiding Asbestos Exposure in Home Renovations
If you are thinking about performing any kind of do-it-yourself home improvement projects in the near future, safety should always be your first priority. After all, while you may know what you are doing in terms of the steps needed to complete the specific project, there are many safety risks and concerns that you may come across when embarking on any home improvement project without the help of a trained professional. Perhaps one of the greatest risks that you may expose yourself to when taking on a DIY home improvement project is that of asbestos and the subsequent diseases and health complications it can cause.
Asbestos is a fiber that comes from minerals and was commonly used for construction purposes until relatively recently, when it was discovered that the fiber could be linked to a lot of health problems. It is believed by scientists and other experts that asbestos causes the most damage to the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Prolonged or significant exposure to asbestos can even result in Mesothelioma, which is an aggressive type of cancer.
The risk in taking on any home improvement project, then, is that you may not be aware that your home was constructed with materials containing asbestos. This should especially be a concern if your home was built more than twenty years ago, though the only way to know for sure whether your home has dangerous levels of asbestos is to have it inspected. After all, even the most basic of home improvement projects can make asbestos particles airborne and put you at risk of inhaling them and damaging your lungs.
So whether you plan on simply nailing a few holes in the walls at your home or even doing something as drastic as knocking down an entire wall, it is imperative that you have your home tested for asbestos before you begin the project. This can be done by a highly trained and professional inspector, who will test various areas of your home’s construction for traces of the fibers. The inspection process can take anywhere from a couple of hours to an entire day, depending on the size of your home and the amount of material to be tested. By the time the inspection is completed, however, you will receive a detailed report from the inspector.
Based on this report and what the inspector tells you, you can determine whether or not it is safe for you to take on a DIY home improvement project. If the asbestos levels in your home are deemed too high, then you may want to consider having the asbestos removed by a qualified company so that you do not have to be concerned about this in the future.
Overall, there is still a lot of research to be done on asbestos and its effects on humans. However, in the meantime, it is wise to have your home tested for the substance prior to starting any projects so that you can avoid long term health problems for you and your family.