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Hidden Dangers in the Home
If you’ve ever talked to the owner of an older home, before everything became synthetic, you’ll often hear them boast about a higher level of craftsmanship and stronger, better quality materials. While this is often the case, there are also many hidden dangers in homes built before the mid to late 1970s. Today, we’ll be going over one of the most common and potentially dangerous building materials widely used in the U.S.: asbestos.
History of Asbestos Use
Asbestos is naturally occurring and found in mines all over the world. In the nineteenth century builders began using asbestos for attic insulation, ceiling tiles, floors, walls and duct work. Asbestos was favored by builders because of its low price and resistance to heat and corrosion. Years later, when asbestos was linked to respiratory related illnesses and deaths, it was banned from use in the building of new homes.
The Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos is covered in small fibers that are released into the atmosphere when it is disturbed. Inhaling these fibers over a long period of time can cause mesotheliomas and other upper respiratory diseases. Nearly all documented cases of mesotheliomas diagnoses related to asbestos exposure are found in those who worked with or around the material for extended periods. Along with respiratory illness, asbestos can also cause warts and other skin irritations.
Identifying & Dealing with Asbestos
It’s not always possible to identify asbestos just by looking at it. Asbestos can be in the form of all kinds of different products and a lab test is usually needed to determine if it is asbestos. If asbestos is found in the home, sometimes the best course of action is to leave it alone. The harmful fibers that cause respiratory illness are encapsulated inside the asbestos and are not released unless it’s broken. Removing asbestos requires the skill of trained professionals and is a costly process. If you do suspect that an area of your home contains asbestos, keep an eye out for cracks and other damage. Never touch what you suspect might be asbestos.