Did you find mold in your apartment? Then, you should get asbestos testing today. Asbestos is a combination of six naturally occurring silicate minerals creating a soft and agile heat-resistant fiber. It is commonly used as a building material in industrial and residential construction due to its resistance to heat, corrosion, and electricity. Moreover, it is also highly tensile, resistant to chemicals, and has a high absorbing capacity. Asbestos is also used as a component in manufacturing fabrics, paper products, stoves, dryers, toys, etc.
As functional and widely used as the substance is, Asbestos has proven to be acutely dangerous, earning the name “The Hidden Killer” over the years. As it turns out, the properties of Asbestos are brilliant for construction purposes but not so much for the general population’s health.
So, the use and popularity of Asbestos peaked in the early 1950s, so did the awareness of the public’s potential hazards. During that time, Asbestos usage has been partially banned. However, a significant number of people still suffer from Asbestos-related diseases and are exposed to them each day.
Which begs the question, if Asbestos is no longer in use, why are people still experiencing its health hazards? One of the reasons that can explain this is that it takes a considerable amount of time for symptoms of Asbestos-related diseases to develop in most cases. We are talking decades! Another reason is that we still get exposure from Asbestos as products containing the substance to continue to be distributed among the general population.
So, what’s the solution to this imminent problem? How do we avoid any exposure at all, and if we can’t? The present answer is to spot Asbestos-related products before it’s too late.
Before we give you a rundown of effective Asbestos testing and inspection methods, here are a few more reasons why and when you should employ these solutions.
Why should you test for Asbestos?
Asbestos fibers are hazardous to your health. These fibers are microscopic and can enter your system when you are exposed to them. The most common pathway for the fibers to enter your body is via the respiratory tract. These particles will enter and stick to the nasal, where they can be released later. Some threads may even reach the lungs. Exposure to Asbestos can cause mesothelioma (a type of cancer), Asbestosis, Pleuritis, Pleural effusions, and other respiratory diseases.
When should you test for Asbestos?
There is no question about the dangerous nature of Asbestos; still, it continues to find use in everyday items. Hence, It becomes essential to test the presence of this natural carcinogen. Here is why you need to get Asbestos testing done:
- If you are planning to renovate a structure, it might contain Asbestos. The chances become higher if the building is older than the 1980s. Moreover, it is against the law to disturb a system containing Asbestos without a permit. You need to call Asbestos Abatement Contractors to remove the material as per state regulations.
- It is essential to get Asbestos testing done in demolition regardless of the age, condition, or other elements involved in the building. The only exception is when the building is old and fragile to enter. Some states and local authorities require special exemption in such cases. The materials containing Asbestos might be harmless when left as it is in older buildings.
However, when disturbed, the situation might get hazardous. During demolition, the fibers can enter the respiratory tract of anyone in the surroundings. After the process, the vicinity remains dangerous for bypassers.
- It is also necessary to test Asbestos when a lot of tenants occupy the building. If the tenants complain about the exposure to this substance, one needs to follow the procedure. In some cases, the tenants may recognize the substance as Asbestos due to prior knowledge. In others, they might encounter a substance similar to it. Whatever the case might be, you need to tackle the situation whether you suspect the presence or not.
- If the buildings are old and need repair and maintenance work, it might lead to Asbestos getting exposed. Many older materials, for instance, insulation and fireproofing, can be the reason. If you own an old building, it is advisable to check for Asbestos exposures every 6 to 12 months.
There are numerous ways to test Asbestos. The cost depends on the intricacy and urgency of the procedure.
- In the case of offsite testing, you can take different samples from different parts of your house, such as cement tile siding, floor tile, sheet vinyl, etc., and send them to the laboratory for testing. This method is also an inexpensive one as it cost just $50-$80. The amount is higher if you need the results back in 24 hours. If you don’t need it urgently, the test results will come back within 1 to 2 weeks.
- You can also send multiple samples to the company. Some companies charge less per sample if you send them several. You need one tablespoon of friable(easily breakable) material and 1 square inch of non-friable substance like tile.
- Another possibility is to send a dust sample to the laboratory. The price can rise due to the procedure’s complexity, i.e., anywhere between $120-$180. You need to collect a spoon of dust, seal it properly and mail it to the laboratory.
- These methods are not typically recommended as only the professionals and people with training can do the testing. For a contractor to proceed, it will be required to have been done by a state-certified inspector.
How to take samples?
- Wear disposable masks and gloves.
- Turn of the fans, Air conditioner, or any form of ventilation system. Doing so will prevent the spread of fibers in the vicinity.
- Spray the substance with water to avoid any airborne particles.
- Place the sample in its bag and label it for identification.
- Clean the area with a damp cloth. (Avoid using the vacuum cleaner)
- Seal all the samples and ship them to the laboratory you have chosen.
For onsite testing, a specialist will visit and test the materials in your house. The pricing depends on the company, the age of the structure, and the complexity of the procedure. Experts shall also inspect for the presence of Asbestos in the atmosphere of your home. This method is efficient and reliable. However, the only drawback is that it can be considered by some to be expensive.
The cost of onsite sampling can range from $350-$750. Sometimes the materials labeled safe might be unsafe due to negligence. Therefore, you need a complete evaluation of the house to assure the safety of your family
What to do when you get your results?
The results usually contain a physical description of the material concerning homogeneity, color, texture, etc. The report also includes the percentage of Asbestos present in the sample.
There are two possible outcomes of the result; the Asbestos might be present or not.
- The results might not be detected or trace detected (<1). A sample containing less than 1% is also harmless and requires no action.
- Samples with more than 1% asbestos are considered asbestos-containing materials. If the asbestos material is left undisturbed, it is harmless. In such a case, no actions are needed. However, if there are chances that the material might get exposed to the air, you need to call a professional. The professional will visit your home and perform the process.
Despite the strict regulation and the dangers surrounding the substance, Asbestos continues to seep into our daily lives. Its usage is ancient, making it incredibly difficult to eliminate derivatives where Asbestos has been used. Take, for example, old cities like Glasgow City, Scotland, where Asbestos was used extensively in construction and other products, including ship engines, transportation machinery, brake linings, etc.
It is tough to avoid coming across Asbestos-related buildings or products with such a long-term usage and prevalence. In that case, awareness becomes vital for preventing the debilitating long-term health hazard of asbestos exposure.