Asbestos Exposure in the Home: Risk and Removal

Asbestos was a widely used building material for most of the 20th century. It was mainly utilized in the manufacture of fire-resistant and insulation materials due to its favourable physical qualities. Asbestos was used for producing floor and ceiling tiles, house siding, plaster, brake pads, heat-resistant fabrics, hot water pipe insulation, etc. It was commonly mixed with cement to enhance its fire-resisting properties without increasing its weight.

Although asbestos is still found in homes in some parts of the world, many countries have completely banned or limited its use due to its extremely negative effects on human health.

Health Risk of Asbestos

Wearing and abrasion of building materials that contain asbestos can cause its fibers to break, releasing sharp microscopic particles into the surrounding air. When the contaminated air is inhaled, asbestos particles create microscopic cuts and incisions on the lung tissue, causing inflammation. In case of prolonged exposure, the inflammation becomes chronic and scar tissue begins to develop, causing very serious lung diseases like asbestosis and lung cancer. Breathing in asbestos microparticles has also been linked to the development of mesothelioma, laryngeal, and ovarian cancer.

Presence of airborne asbestos in residential and business buildings is very likely to fly under the radar, considering that asbestos fibers are usually invisible to the naked eye, and the damaged construction material is often hidden from the plain view. Typical symptoms of asbestos exposure usually take decades to manifest, which makes this problem even more difficult to detect on time. Mild symptoms that can occur during the first years of exposure are often attributed to other health conditions, so their real cause is commonly overlooked.

Early symptoms of asbestos exposure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough and wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Swollen, “clubbed” fingers

If you live in a building that was constructed before 1980, there is a great probability that asbestos is present within different building materials. Considering that asbestos microfibers are only harmful when they are airborne, they will not pose a risk to human health if the material remains undamaged.

Limiting Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos can cause severe health issues, but only in case of prolonged exposure. If you live in an older building, you might want to inspect the state of the building materials in your home from time to time. Any damage to pipe insulation, ceiling, floor tiles, etc., is a possible source of harmful asbestos fibers. If you find such damaged materials at your home, avoid touching or disturbing them and call a professional asbestos removal service.

Considering that asbestos is a very harmful material which easily becomes airborne once disturbed, its management and removal requires professional safety equipment and expertise. Hiring a certified, trusted home remediation company is the best way to solve this problem safely and permanently. Friendly, experienced staff of Inch by Inch Inspections provides their high-quality asbestos removal service all over Toronto and the GTA. They can help with asbestos testing and solve any asbestos-related issues at your home safely, efficiently and at a fair price. To ensure that your home is a safe and healthy environment, reach out to Inch by Inch today at 416-568-9702 and schedule your inspection.

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