The term "asbestos" refers to a set of minerals that can be separated into fibres for industrial uses. The US Department of Labor reports that asbestos fibres are particularly useful because they are resistant to heat and fire. The three types of asbestos used commercially are white, brown and blue asbestos. White asbestos has been used in the home construction industry. In an online article entitled "Asbestos in Your Home," the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. The EPA recommends that homeowners follow specific procedures to identify asbestos because asbestos particles are not visible to the naked eye.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Examine products in your home that may have contained asbestos in the past. Products that at one time commonly included white asbestos include soundproofing materials sprayed on walls and ceilings; asbestos shingles and siding; artificial ashes and embers in gas-fired fireplaces; and adhesives used to install floor tile.
Assume that materials in your home which might have asbestos do have asbestos.
Do not disturb material suspected of containing asbestos if the material is in good condition and will not be disturbed otherwise.
Have a qualified professional take samples of suspect materials if the materials will be disturbed for reasons such as remodelling. Do not attempt to take samples of materials suspected of containing white asbestos yourself.
Have the samples professionally analysed to determine if they contain asbestos. If so, a scientific analysis will identify the particular kind of asbestos, such as white asbestos, the materials contain.
Tips and warnings
- Do not attempt to remove white asbestos by yourself. Hire a certified abatement professional, per the guidelines listed below.
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