Asbestos refers to six naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the ability to resist heat, fire and electricity. Asbestos was previously used in construction, shipbuilding and automotive materials. The United States allows up to 1% of asbestos to be used in insulation, roof tiles, corrugated sheets and vehicle parts.
The fibers are generally hidden in products that utilize the mineral. Asbestos is considered innocuous unless it is damaged or disturbed in some way. If you see exposed fibers that means the asbestos materials have been damaged and may have been released into the air, which can cause serious health risks.
The general rule of thumb is to assume the presence of asbestos in homes built before 1980.
There is no immediate danger if the suspected materials are in good condition. Homeowners should leave these materials alone and call in an asbestos professional to survey the area. The Environmental Protection Agency has strict regulations in place for how asbestos can be handled and disposed of, so it’s best to have certified individuals assess and properly take care of any asbestos-containing products.
Sigman Inspection Services will be able to perform a visual inspection of areas of concern, as well as safely collect samples to analyze for asbestos fibers. If the asbestos testing reveals fibers, Sigman will recommend the next steps, which may involve leaving the materials alone if they are in good condition, or having the asbestos materials removed.
Being aware of what materials contain or potentially contain asbestos can help prevent deadly exposures and ensure your home is toxin free.