Everyone knows that asbestos is dangerous. For many, though, that’s where their knowledge of this material ends, and there are plenty of common myths about asbestos and asbestos removal that are still circulating around to this day.
To help you better understand what’s true and what isn’t regarding asbestos and the process of removing it from your home, we’ll take a look at the six most common myths about asbestos.
Myth #1: Asbestos is Only Dangerous After Long-Term Exposure
Most asbestos related diseases only reveal themselves many years after the person’s initial exposure to asbestos. This delay may be what has given rise to the myth that only long-term exposure to asbestos is dangerous.
While long-term exposure to asbestos is certainly more dangerous than being exposed to it for just a few days, there is no such thing as a safe level of exposure when it comes to asbestos. Everyone’s lungs are different, and a level of exposure that isn’t enough to affect one person may leave someone else with a debilitating illness.
Myth #2: Asbestos is no Longer a Problem in 2019
Once we became aware of the risks asbestos posed, it didn’t take long to begin removing the material from buildings across the country. Today, no new buildings or products are made using asbestos. However, that doesn’t mean that the problem of asbestos is gone entirely.
Many older homes still have asbestos in the walls, the insulation, the ceiling tiles, and more. If your home was built before 1973, there is a chance that there is still asbestos in your home that may need to be removed.
Myth #3: Asbestos Only Harmed Those in the Construction Industry
The men and women who worked with asbestos on a daily basis in the construction industry are certainly at a higher risk of contracting an asbestos-related illness. However, asbestos has affected many people outside of the construction industry as well.
Simply living in a home that was built using asbestos is more than enough to expose you to unsafe levels of the material, and many people who never worked with asbestos a day in their life have contracted asbestos-related illnesses due to living in close proximity to the material.
Myth #4: Asbestos is Safe to Remove if You Wear a Dust Mask
Wearing a dust mask while removing asbestos is definitely much better than not wearing one, but it’s still far from safe. Most dust masks simply don’t provide enough protection to keep the tiny asbestos fibers from entering into your airways. Even if your mask does prevent you from inhaling any asbestos, the fibers can still stick to your clothing, your hair, and more. These stowaway fibers can then be inhaled by others and by you yourself after your mask has been removed.
Myth #5: Asbestos is Safe to Remove if You Wet it Down First
Logic dictates that wetting down a fibrous material should prevent those fibers from becoming airborne when disturbed. For one type of asbestos – white asbestos – this is true, and wetting down the area will make it (mostly) safe to remove. However, there are five other types of asbestos, and these five other types are hydrophobic. This means that asbestos particles are able to become airborne – and are therefore able to be inhaled – even when they are wet.
Myth #6: Asbestos is Easy to Identify
In its most common form, asbestos looks like attic insulation. Over the years, however, asbestos was included in a number of products aside from insulation. These products include tiles, paints, cement, and much more. In products such as these, it can be impossible to identify asbestos without the right tools and procedures.
In other words, the eyeball test alone is typically not enough to determine whether or not asbestos is present in your home. If you are at all concerned that you may have asbestos in your home, you will need to contact a licensed asbestos expert to verify whether or not things such as the tiles and paint in your home contain asbestos.
While asbestos may not be as common today as it was a few decades ago, exposure to asbestos is still as dangerous now as it has always been. Unfortunately, asbestos exposure is typically seen as a problem of the past, giving rise to a number of myths and misconceptions about this harmful material.
If you are concerned that there may be asbestos present in your home, it is important not to fall victim to any of these myths. Don’t overlook the seriousness of the problem, and never attempt to remove asbestos yourself even if you wet it down and even if you are wearing a mask.
Instead, you will want to contact a licensed asbestos removal professional as soon as possible. At Abry Brothers, we’ve been removing asbestos from homes and commercial buildings ever since it was outlawed. If you would like to learn more about our asbestos removal service, we invite you to contact us today.