Asbestos is a mineral fiber which has been frequently used in the production of numerous construction materials. It is used for insulation and fireproofing purposes. Nowadays, asbestos is normally found in vintage type homes, in furnace and pipe insulation materials, millboards, textured paints, asbestos shingles, some coating materials and floor tiles. It may also be present in old electrical equipments such as lamp socket collars, receptacle boxes and fuse boxes. Because of asbestos’ popularity and abundance, the process of asbestos testing was born.
Identifying asbestos will require a sample of the material which is suspected to have asbestos, then, laboratory analysis will follow. Usually asbestos testing companies offer this service. If you suspect that a certain material or area in your house may possibly contain asbestos or is contaminated by it, avoid speculation and call an asbestos testing company to confirm it. They will use their laboratory equipment to do the same.
Asbestos testing should always be considered when buying a vintage house, building or any structure. In some states, it is compulsory for real estate agents to employ the services of asbestos testing companies. The results would be publicly available to individuals who are interested in acquiring the property. Before renovation or modification of an aged structure, it is imperative that asbestos testing should be performed.
An alternative method for asbestos testing would be to hire an expert who has familiarized himself/herself with asbestos. Plumbers, heating specialists, contractors and electricians are some professionals who have been frequently interrelated with asbestos. By simply looking and examining the suspected sample or area, they can easily conclude, that it is indeed contaminated by asbestos. This alternative way, however, is not as accurate as employing the services of asbestos testing experts and sending samples to their laboratory for careful analysis. A number of companies sell asbestos test kits to customers for the main purpose of sample collection.
Asbestos testing experts are more trained in the management of asbestos materials. There are two types of professionals that can be hired, a general asbestos contractor or a professionally trained expert to take care of specific products or situations. In some cases, the professional’s proficiency may vary on the particular category of the product and the procedure that needs to be performed to solve the problem related to asbestos contamination.
Once an asbestos test verifies that asbestos is indeed present, it is essential to employ contractors who are specially trained in removing asbestos. These service providers are experienced people with proper procedures in the management and removal of asbestos. It is important to ensure that the contractors guarantee the lawful and safe disposal of the removed asbestos. Though the cost of asbestos testing and removal may be quite high, it is legally and environmentally beneficial.
The routine of asbestos testing professionals in the suspected area contaminated with asbestos should include meticulous inspection, taking samples of suspected materials contaminated with asbestos, assessment of the material’s condition and eventually the recommendation of the necessary modifications and corrections that are needed to be done. For special situations these professionals may suggest qualified experts who may be able to offer the particular service that may be needed.
Perhaps most people would ask why asbestos testing is needed. Some may just view the whole procedure as another expenditure that is not really a necessity. This is the common mentality of people who are not knowledgeable of asbestos’ properties. A number of individuals are unaware that asbestos can be very harmful and may cause a number of serious diseases. Ignoring the health hazards that asbestos may cause and disregarding the benefits of asbestos testing can bring forth a lot of unwanted consequences.
The Dilemma of Asbestos Usage
The dilemma on asbestos started when it was confirmed to be hazardous to human beings. It was found to be the cause of serious health problems such as cancer. Many buildings across the country was found to have asbestos. It is highly probable that asbestos was preferred by some construction companies because it is economical and is considered to be an excellent insulator. Some people believe that asbestos is a danger to our health and should be banned from further usage. However, there are other people who are persistent that it can be used continually with the application of proper installment and regular maintenance for minimizing any hazard. The misconceptions and various opinions still continue, but it cannot be denied that day by day, asbestos testing companies are increasing in number, which is a sign that there is indeed a problem with the usage of asbestos.
During 1930’s, it was discovered that once microscopic asbestos fiber (100 times finer than a human being’s hair) becomes airborne, there is a big possibility that it may be inhaled. Once inhaled, because of its stillness, it would be impossible to remove these asbestos fibers from our lungs and this can eventually cause health problems. Since inhalation means the entrance of external air through the nose or mouth, lung cancer is the most probable health risk that a person can encounter on inhaling airborne asbestos fibers.
Researchers have not yet officially released any information or statistics regarding the safe levels of exposure to asbestos. It is quite logical that extensive and immense exposure to asbestos micro fibers means a higher risk of getting asbestos connected diseases. There is a long term period before the negative effects of exposure to asbestos becomes apparent. Most of the time it would take about fifteen to sixty years (15 to 60 years) for the negative health risks to surface. Current deaths which have been linked with asbestos are the results of exposure to the mineral during the 50's and 60's when asbestos was effortlessly available and commonly used.
During 1970s, asbestos was widely used for insulation purposes worldwide. It is fire resistant and is shielded against both sound and temperature which made it very convenient to use. After more than a decade, a number of asbestos installers and miners showed evident symptoms of respiratory diseases. Some of these workers died because their situation became worse. Eventually, after a number of lawsuits, health studies emerged. These studies showed that only “friable” or spray-on asbestos of several varieties caused cancer. After 20 years, during the 90s, the Health Effects Institute-Asbestos Research and the Environmental Protection Agency released information that asbestos fibers must be present in the air or airborne in order to penetrate the respiratory system. Therefore, it was concluded, that the use of friable asbestos should be abolished in order to reduce or eradicate any cancer that would be related to asbestos.
Numerous manufacturers did not agree with the concept of phasing out asbestos removal. These asbestos producers disagreed with the information regarding the harmful effects of asbestos. A resolution to avoid any health risk problem was put into action when manufacturers started to use chrysotile asbestos or “white asbestos”. Chrysotile asbestos was brought to factories and processed into insulation tiles which are supposedly safe because they were not supposed to release microscopic fiber. These insulation tiles are being used in buildings. This kind of asbestos is the most common type of asbestos, found in 90- 95% of buildings in the United States. With this act, asbestos cancer risks to the general public was reduced. However, health hazards due to asbestos still occur and factory workers and miners are still vulnerable to its negative effects.
A quandary on installed chrysotile asbestos insulators and applied friable asbestos surfaced over the possibility that they might disintegrate and eventually release dust that may contain microscopic asbestos fiber which can cause cancer. A number of people and asbestos testing experts believe that it will be more hazardous to agitate the insulation tiles by performing demolition because of the possibility that this will break and crush the tiles and cause the release of fibers. On the other hand, some experts from Europe believed that demolition is the key to total safety. A consensus was accomplished by the establishment of strict schedules on the maintenance of asbestos-insulated buildings.
Effects of Asbestos Exposure to Your Health
Minor exposure to airborne asbestos fibers may cause undesirable health problems. Continuous exposure to it will eventually allow asbestos fibers to build up inside the lungs. Fibers which are implanted and embedded inside the tissues of the lungs over a long period of time, will result in severe respiratory diseases such as: lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
- Lung Cancer-A malignant tumor that attacks and eventually blocks the lung’s air passages.
- Mesothelioma-A very rare cancer that may affect the pleura(the outer lining of the lungs)
- Asbestosis-A progressive long term disease of the lungs, it is non-cancer but is still considered serious.
1. Deficient air supply in the lungs or shortness of breath
2. Unrelenting or remorseless cough that may have mucus expelling
3. Chest Pains
4. Loss of Appetite.
5. Dry splintery sound during the inhalation of air.
Why do I need to hire an Asbestos Testing Firm?
Based on all the data and information, it is very clear that asbestos exposure is harmful to human beings. Asbestos is considered as human carcinogen, which is an instrument directly involved in the promotion of cancer. Asbestos linked diseases have killed about 2,500-3,500 people in the United Kingdom alone. So it is imperative that any health hazard matter, such as asbestos contamination, should be taken seriously. Ignoring the information regarding asbestos will eventually increase the vulnerability to cancer and other dangerous diseases that asbestos exposure may cause. So it is very logical to call an asbestos testing company and employ their services for your health and safety. Sometimes, ignorance can be a fatal mistake.