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Home Improvement Safety: Asbestos Removal & Healthy Options

March 3rd, 2009

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was used in millions of building and construction applications throughout the 20th century. Asbestos was praised for its heat resistance, strength, flexibility and insulating properties. Asbestos is still regarded as one of the most hazardous building materials. The path to purchasing a new home is an investment of a lifetime, insuring stability and unity for you and your family.

Potential home buyers or those seeking to remodel older homes should be aware asbestos exposure can lead to many health ailments. If your home was built before 1980, there is a chance it may contain asbestos.

However, this does not mean you should be devastatingly alarmed. With the proper precautions and a professional home inspection, exposure to asbestos can be easily prevented. There are now many eco-friendly options that replace the need for asbestos.

If you find asbestos in the home, you shouldn’t panic. At the same time, you shouldn’t take it lightly. Asbestos that is disturbed or damaged due to age is known as “friable” asbestos. This is a serious concern because its toxic fibers can easily circulate and become inhaled. In most situations, asbestos appears in roof shingles, dry wall, attic insulation, popcorn ceilings, joint compounds and electrical wires. If you believe that your home contains asbestos, a home inspection could be extremely important for safety, health and investment reasons.

The frequent inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can cause a severe lung ailment known as pleural mesothelioma. This form of asbestos lung cancer takes the lives of thousands every year. With a latency period that lasts from 20 to 50 years, it isn’t until the later stages of progression when physicians usually are able to accurately diagnose. This also affects accurate mesothelioma prognosis for patients.

According to the experts, the general rule of thumb is if the asbestos is in good shape, it’s posing no apparent risk. If it’s in bad shape, it could be a problem. If an inspector deems the substance harmful, the removal of asbestos in public facilities, workplaces and homes must be performed by licensed abatement contractors who are trained in handling toxic substances. Depending on the condition of the asbestos, many experts feel it is better to seal it off than remove it.

Recycled building materials that are viable options to asbestos include: cellulose, cotton fiber and lcynene foam. These environmentally sustainable products can also reduce annual energy costs by 25 to 35 percent. The move to a greener lifestyle will build on the change to healthier methods of building products, home remodeling and renovation. These new environmentally-sustainable alternatives create healthier, quieter and more energy efficient homes in the 21st century.

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