You remember how your parents looked for the monster under your bed or in your closet. You probably do the same for your own children. But as an adult, you don’t believe in things like monsters anymore, not the make believe kind, anyway.
Now that you’ve grown up, you worry about other “monsters” in your life. If you live in an older home, then the word “asbestos” probably worries you like the Boogeyman or La Llorna frighten your children.
However, you likely don’t know if your home contains asbestos or not. Here we will tell you everything you need to know about this building material and how you can check if your house contains it.
What Is Asbestos?
If you live in a home that was built between 1930 and the late 1970’s, then it most likely has asbestos amongst its building materials. During this time period, builders, contractors, and roofers used this material to increase a home’s fire resistance.
Asbestos refers to a group of minerals that include:
These minerals contain microscopic fibers that not only resist fire, but also chemical reactions. And since contractors and builders weren’t aware that this material could cause health issues, they used asbestos to more fully protect a home and its occupants from danger.
Where Can You Find Asbestos in Your Home?
As they built homes, contractors used asbestos in various areas and materials including:
- Ceiling tiles
- Floor tiles
- Pipe cement
- Roofing shingles
- Seams between sheetrock
- Stovetop pads
- Window caulking
However, even though these materials contain asbestos, you can’t visually identify the toxin most of the time, unless these features crumble.
Can You Check Your Home for Asbestos?
Even if you can’t plainly detect asbestos, you can still test areas of your home for the toxic substance. Follow these steps to check your home for this material.
- Hire an asbestos professional to collect small pieces of flooring, shingles, insulation, etc. from your home.
- Send these fibers to a certified lab for testing.
- If these results come back positive for asbestos, employ a contractor who can remove this material from your home.
Does Asbestos Cause Serious Problems?
Right now, you might fear that you and your family could become ill in your own home. However, asbestos only becomes toxic and hazardous to your health if it becomes airborne.
Roofers and other professionals can repair any damaged areas that contain this material. Maintenance prevents the toxin from becoming airborne and protects you and your family.
If these fibers end up in your home’s air supply, you and your family could develop the following types of cancer:
Asbestos exposure also increases your risk for more severe health problems, such as:
The more exposure to asbestos you have, the higher your risk for this malignant form of lung cancer. Simply put, mesothelioma is a cancer in the mesothelium (a thin membrane) of your abdominal cavity and chest lining. However, doctors cannot easily diagnose this form of cancer because it presents itself in three forms:
- Pericardial mesothelioma (affects your cardiac cavity)
- Peritoneal mesothelioma (harms your abdominal cavity)
- Pleural mesothelioma (damages your lungs and chest cavity)
Additionally, mesothelioma manifests symptoms that imitate other illnesses, so doctors still can’t diagnose the disease easily. Some of these symptoms include:
- Chest or lower back pain
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Swelling in the arms and face
- Weight loss
Though no cure for mesothelioma exists, your physician can treat the condition with chemotherapy and surgery.
This prolonged, but benign, lung disease scars your chest and lungs. You will also develop breathing issues since this scarring prevents your body from absorbing appropriate levels of oxygen. Other symptoms include:
- Continual, dry cough
- Enlarged fingertips
- Loss of appetite
- Nail deformities
- Tightness in your chest
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately. Your doctor will run tests to diagnose your condition. Since medical research has not produced a cure for asbestosis, your doctor will prescribe you treatments such as inhalers, supplemental oxygen, or a lung transplant if necessary.
What Should You Do?
As previously stated, if you your home was built before the 1980’s, it may contain asbestos. You could be at risk for serious health risks if you breathe in this toxic material. Rather than wait to discover asbestos in your home, get in touch with a professional today.
Call your local roof technicians and have them inspect your roof for signs of damage. Other asbestos experts can examine different areas of your home for this material. These authorities can repair your roof and other areas in a safe manner. They can also replace broken materials to keep asbestos out of the air. To protect you, your family, and the environment, these professionals will dispose of this toxic material properly.
If these consultants discover loose asbestos in your home, visit your doctor as soon as you can for a health assessment.