Exposure to Asbestos
It's been a well know fact for some time now that exposure to asbestos was prevalent in many work environments.
As a matter of fact in 1918, The US Dept. of Labor issued a bulletin in response to asbestos linked illness stating there was an urgent need for more qualified extensive investigation into the harm caused by asbestos.
Unfortunately, manufacturers continued to use asbestos long after. It was commonplace for many construction materials to be made of or contain asbestos.
It was found in many different products including insulation, roofing and siding shingles, and vinyl floor tiles, blanket wraps that covered hot water and steam pipes as well as furnace and door gaskets.
Asbestos that is in good condition is usually not a health hazard. When its condition starts to deteriorate, fibers are released into the air. And then inhaled into the lungs.
Prolonged exposure to asbestos especially high levels of fibers can lead to asbestosis (lung cancer) and mesothelioma (a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity).
Repair and Removal
If you suspect that you have asbestos in your home, have your contractor look at it before the remodeling process starts. Hiring a professional company to remove it is a more expensive option but should be considered if the construction will disturb the asbestos.
Removal is involved and complex and should only be done by a licensed professional. Improperly removing it could increase the heath risk to you and your family. Check your local and state laws to see if contractors are required to be certified.
Even repairs should be done by a professional and are usually performed in one of two ways either by encapsulating (sealing) or enclosing (covering).
Encapsulating is done by coating the material with a sealant that binds the fibers together while enclosing involves covering it with a protective wrap to prevent the escape of loose fibers.
Return from Exposure to Asbestos to Sick Building Syndrome