Asbestos Fiber Contamination
by Building Inspector and Indoor Air Specialist, Dan Schilling
© Copyright 2002 Residential Inspections LLC, All Rights Reserved
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was used in a multitude of building products: cement, stucco, roof shingles, siding, pipe insulation, attic insulation, plaster walls, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, air duct panels, sealing tape on the joints of air ducts, chimneys, inside of furnaces, and electrical panel boxes.
What is the concern?
Asbestos fibers have barbs on them similar to fish hooks. While this is one of the great qualities that made this fiber so popular for strengthening building materials, it is also this property that makes asbestos such a danger to our health.
Asbestos fibers are microscopic and can easily come loose from insulating materials. They can also be ground loose by wear on some building materials like flooring tiles, or discharged into the air during remodeling projects or during the replacement of heating appliances. When inhaled, asbestos can become lodged in or hooked into our lung tissues. This can cause irritation and scaring which can lead to lung cancer.
Although asbestos has been diligently removed from a number of homes, many still have it present, indoors and out. When possible asbestos containing materials are seen or suspected , caution should be taken. If you live in an older home, particularly if you are planning a remodeling project, it would be in your best interest to consult with a specialist to determine if asbestos is present, and if it is in an area where it can become a health concern.
with those you care about.