Home improvement isn’t often cited as one of the main causes of cancer. But the danger of asbestos is present and it’s possible that you could find yourself with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, at some point in your life.
Asbestos was used widely up until about 1980. Older homes are highly likely to have this substance in their construction. This has helped contribute to the nearly 2,500 mesothelioma deaths every year.
Do You have Asbestos at Home?
This is the first question you need to answer. Unlike the signs of liver damage, you don’t know if you’re likely to contract mesothelioma as the latency period means it can take 50 years for the symptoms to surface.
Asbestos in the home generally disappeared around 1980. If your home is new you can be almost certain that asbestos isn’t going to be a problem. But if your home was built before or around this time you should have your home tested.
You may only have a small amount of asbestos material, but that’s all it takes to leave someone with mesothelioma later in life.
Testing Your Home
Before embarking on any home improvement plan, you must test your home first. Asbestos becomes dangerous when you start drilling and cutting.
Only a professional can test for asbestos. They must take a sample and send it to a lab for certified results. These results will let you know whether you have asbestos in your home.
Get a Professional to Work with Asbestos
Working with asbestos materials isn’t recommended if you’re not trained to do it. Understand that wearing a face mask isn’t enough to protect you from the fibers released when you begin your home improvement project. The reason for this is that the asbestos needs to be purged from the air afterwards.
For things like this you need specialized equipment. Without a professional you’re putting yourself and your family at risk of mesothelioma.
Should You Get All Asbestos Removed?
After you find out you have asbestos in your home you may start asking whether you need to have asbestos removed from your home. You don’t want to be adding to the estimated 3,000 new mesothelioma cases in the United States every year.
The truth is that there’s little need to have all the asbestos removed from your home. Asbestos, when undisturbed, is completely harmless. In fact, it’s a highly effective material because it’s resistant to fire.
It’s when asbestos is disturbed the material becomes dangerous.
What if I Disturb Asbestos?
It can be alarming knowing that you’ve accidentally disturbed some asbestos material in your home. But not everyone who ever sees asbestos is going to automatically contract mesothelioma at some point in their lives.
The key is to isolate the area, which is as simple as locking up the room where the asbestos is. You should also change out of your clothes, shower, and dispose of those old clothes.
A professional should then be called in to clean up the asbestos, which will likely have settled by the time they’ve arrived. An air test should be carried out afterwards to make sure there are no airborne particles.
Keeping Your Home Improvement Safe
It’s common for people to want to improve their homes. But asbestos is no joke. You must take it seriously if you’re going to reduce your risk of experiencing mesothelioma.
The key is vigilance. Find out whether you have asbestos in the first place and call in a professional to deal with the problem. Don’t take a risk by trying to handle the problem yourself.
Have you ever come into direct contact with asbestos?