Asbestos in the home can be dangerous
Asbestos is a dangerous material. In addition to being the only known cause of mesothelioma, it can lead to other deadly diseases. Unfortunately, not all homeowners are aware of the dangers of asbestos, and for many years it was used in buildings as a fireproof material. It is often found in insulation, floor tiles, joint compound, and other areas in a home.
Breast cancer awareness is given plenty of coverage around the world, but cancer caused by asbestos is just as scary and life threatening. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma.
Do you have asbestos in your home?
For many years asbestos was commonly used in older homes. Asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous material, was used in home construction for its its fire retardant and thermal insulation properties. Despite these properties, asbestos is a serious hazard to health and causes many thousands of deaths every year around the world.
Although now banned in South Africa, the legacy of asbestos remains hidden in various shapes and forms for many years to come, threatening lives at home and at work.
How to identify asbestos
It is almost impossible to identify
simply by looking at an item, which makes it
difficult to locate
asbestos in your house.
Unfortunately, the easiest way to identify asbestos is also the most dangerous, because that means the asbestos fibers are exposed and could find their way into the air that you and your family are breathing. Asbestos fibres may result in serious diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma or lung cancer. Since the level of exposure that may cause health problems is unknown, any exposure to asbestos should be avoided at all costs.
If you discover an area in your home that may be asbestos, but are uncertain about what a substance is, you should treat it as though it contains asbestos. Have an asbestos removal specialist identify and remove materials containing asbestos.
The most common areas of the home to find asbestos are:
◊ In the roof space where asbestos insulation may be exposed.
◊ Ceilings where boards or tiles are broken or crumbling
◊ In an older home with original drywall
Asbestos was also used in the manufacture of older type panel heaters and stove insulation.
For more information on asbestos, visit the National Institute for Occupational Health or head over to the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Centre.