Why You Should Avoid Asbestos During Home Improvement


avoid abestos


Have you seen those home improvement shows on TV where the people take sledgehammers to walls and cabinetry? It looks pretty dramatic. Unfortunately, it is also very dangerous.  It is dangerous because they could be releasing millions of asbestos fibers.  However, if it is an older home the practice may not be safe.

What is Asbestos

Unfortunately, asbestos causes diseases like lung scarring and deadly cancers like mesothelioma.  Many companies used asbestos in many products.  Furthermore, many companies continued to use asbestos.  Even though they knew that it was toxic to human beings.  For example, products like insulation, joint compound, roof shingles, “popcorn” ceilings, and floor covering contain asbestos.  September 11, 2001, the twin towers in New York came down.  Four hundred tons of asbestos was estimated to have been released.

Danger Danger

It became widely known in 1970’s, that asbestos was dangerous.  So, in 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned most asbestos-containing products.  However, this rule was essentially overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991.  As a result, there is still no comprehensive ban on the manufacturing or distribution of asbestos products in the U.S.

Fortunately, most companies were voluntarily taking asbestos out of their building products.  Around 1977, asbestos was removed from most building products.  There is a good chance that some building products contain asbestos.  For example, if you live in an apartment, house or work in a building built before 1977.

Does this mean that all these structures are dangerous?  Yes and No.  The problem is that asbestos fibers are so small.  Millions can sit on the head of a pin.  So, unless you examine them with a microscope you won’t know they are there.

Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma, did more than simply live and work in old homes or buildings. Nearly all victims either worked around asbestos or their spouse did.  Asbestos fibers be carried home on clothes.  This suggests that living in an old house or apartment is not sufficient to cause mesothelioma. However, approximately 30 million homes in the U.S. still contain some asbestos products.   Yet, there are only approximately 2,000 cases a year of mesothelioma. However, some health professionals believe that even small amounts of asbestos exposure can set the stage for disease.

So How Can I keep Safe From Any Asbestos

Before you start any home improvement in a home built before 1977,be aware that you run the risk of releasing asbestos fibers .  So, what should you do?  Take precautions.  First, contact an asbestos professional.  Most importantly, they can test for the deadly fibers.  Additionally, they can provide safe ways to help you do the home improvement project.