Asbestos is a naturally-occurring silicate mineral composed of long, thin fibrous crystals. It was commonly used in home building products such as roof shingles and siding, vermiculite insulation, popcorn ceilings, drywall, and vinyl flooring for decades due to its strength as well as its insulation and fireproofing qualities.
However, in the 1980s, the darker side of asbestos was revealed. As asbestos products break down, the microscopic fibers can be inhaled and swallowed, lodging themselves in lung tissue and causing genetic damage to cellular structures in the body. Asbestos causes asbestosis, pleuritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer, and has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Asbestos become a threat when products begin to deteriorate and release fibers into the air. That means that dusty DIY renovations, decaying building materials, or a compromised structure built prior to the 1980s could heighten the risk of asbestos contamination.
Asbestos-containing products only become a threat when they begin to crumble, releasing asbestos fibers into the air. If you’re undertaking a dusty DIY renovation, you’ve discovered deteriorating asbestos-containing materials in your building, or your pre-1980 building’s structure has been compromised in some way, you may be at risk of asbestos contamination.
If you suspect asbestos may be an issue in your home, you should hire a certified asbestos remediator to conduct tests to ascertain the presence of asbestos. If asbestos is found, it’s critical that you hire a reliable professional to remove the materials to ensure the safety of anyone using the building.
Identify the age of the building and materials in question
The first step in determining if asbestos may be a problem is ascertaining when the building was constructed and when questionable materials were added to the structure. Asbestos building materials were commonly used between 1920 and 1989, but materials added after 1989 should be asbestos-free.
Identify compromised materials
When asbestos is still intact, it doesn’t pose a serious problem. It only becomes a danger as the material is broken down and the fibers are released into the air. Decaying pipes, insulation, flooring, and tiles may indicate the release of asbestos fibers.
Test the area
If you’ve found signs of decaying materials pre-dating 1989, you may want to err on the side of safety and have the area tested. Leave asbestos testing to certified professionals who have been trained with safe removal of materials in order to prevent endangering occupants of the building. The area being tested should be completely closed off to avoid contamination, and the contractors conducting the test should be wearing protective gear for their own safety. The contractor will send a sample of the material to an asbestos analysis lab accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. If the results return positive, you’ll need to make a decision about whether to repair or remove the asbestos-containing materials.
Contact Sunlight Contractors, Louisiana’s Certified Asbestos Remediation Professionals
At Sunlight Contractors, we hold the following Louisiana Asbestos Accreditations to ensure that your asbestos abatement project is conducted according to the recommendations and expectations of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
Asbestos Management Planners
Asbestos Project Designers
Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can help you address your concerns about asbestos in your home or business.