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Asbestos Exposure at Home

Medha Godbole May 13, 2019
Asbestos exposure can be extremely hazardous to health and lead to several, simple, as well as complex, health conditions. In the following sections, we will look through the factors of what this exposure can lead to, and how to prevent the same.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber which is used in an array of building and construction materials. It is used for insulating buildings, and as fire retardants. Asbestos forms a significant part of pipe and furnace insulation materials like asbestos shingles, mill board, textured paints and so on.
Even though the mentioned material is used extensively, research has proved that asbestos exposure can be extremely harmful for health.

Asbestos Prone Areas

The following areas are some of the most likeliest places in the house where asbestos may be found.
  • Base flashing which is used as weatherproofing material around non-metallic exterior protrusions.
  • Roofing materials
  • Sand made from crushed rock
  • Cement siding
  • Caulk, adhesives, patching materials, and putty
  • Linings of fuse boxes
  • Insulation products
  • Cement pipes
  • Pipe coverings
  • Vinyl floor, wall covering, and ceiling tiles
  • Putty used around plumbing pipes
  • Millboard and Rollboard - flexible asbestos sheets
  • Electrical wire insulating material
  • Popcorn ceilings

Avoiding Asbestos Exposure

The best way to avoid asbestos exposure is to adopt newer, and more environment-friendly methods of construction. If you are already living in a building or rather an apartment which may be prone to asbestos exposure, getting it updated is recommended.
Use recycled material for insulation--things like cellulose, poly urethane and cotton fiber. These things are essential to conserve the environment as a whole and to avoid health effects of this kind of exposure. This exposure can also be prevented by taking care not to cut, sand, or rip out materials that are made of asbestos.

Dos and Don'ts for the Homeowner

Here is what you can do if there is asbestos in homes.
  • Activities in any areas having damaged material, which may contain asbestos should be minimum.
  • Get asbestos removal and major repair done by trained personnel, qualified in handling asbestos.
  • Let the asbestos containing material be left alone. If it is not tampered, the fibers will not pollute the air.
  • Avoid usage of abrasive pads on power strippers for stripping wax from asbestos flooring.
  • If the need be, install new floor covering over an asbestos floor.
Make sure that you use proper safety gear while dealing with asbestos. Not using safety precautions and getting exposed to asbestos, either short term or long term, may lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma--a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity, and asbestosis--where the lungs are scarred with fibrous tissue.