Asbestos is a group of 6 naturally occurring mineral types that are made up of microscopic fibers. Asbestos is heat resistant and has therefore been used in insulation and as a fire retardant. Many homes that were built or renovated between 1930 and 1970 have some type of asbestos containing materials. Shingles and roofing, siding, plaster, pipe insulation, floor tile, joint compound or caulking all can contain asbestos. Materials containing asbestos are frequently divided into two types. Friable material, which is easily crumbled (like insulation or popcorn ceilings) or non-friable, which is harder (like vinyl floor tiles and their adhesive).
Asbestos can cause serious health issues. The fibers can be very damaging to human lungs when they become airborne and are inhaled. This can be especially dangerous over a prolonged period of time. Exposure can cause a type of cancer called mesothelioma or other serious lung diseases. This is why the use of most asbestos containing materials have been banned or strictly regulated in most countries.
While asbestos sounds scary, much of the time its existence is not an issue and shouldn’t be of major concern. In future posts we will address concerns for potential home buyers, as well as what you need to know if you do have asbestos in your home. And if you have any questions or concerns about asbestos, Testor’s trained inspectors can help – call us today.