Asbestos …but it was such a useful material!

Asbestos is present in a great many homes and is a home value and health concern to everyone. I very often am able to identify products that are in the homes that I inspect and can advise as to the risk concerns and the correct mitigation procedures.

This is a reblog, and I usually disable comments on reblogs. If you would like to leave a comment, click on the link below and leave your comment with the original author who in this case sourced the article from very knowledgeable people.

Asbestos …but it was such a useful material!

A couple of months ago, a gentleman named Joe Lederman contacted me with something nice to say:

Hey there,

I am the Social Media Coordinator for the Pleural Mesothelioma Center…. I came across your site and I am impressed by the information and resources listed…. If you are interested in creating consumer awareness by adding our article content, please feel free to email me back….

Anyone who starts off an email to me with “Hey there” automatically gets my attention. It just sounds so down to Earth, so Texan, so much better than “Dear Sir or Madam – I am the director of the Bank of Nigeria and found US$80,000,000 in an unknown account….” But I digress….

So I emailed Joe and he was kind enough to provide an article and a cool picture! Here it is!

Guest article provided by Joe Lederman, Social Media Coordinator,,

Asbestos in the home

Asbestos, one of the most highly regarded building materials for more than a century, is a fibrous mineral that was incorporated into thousands of products around the world. Its fire resistance, flexibility, and high durability characteristics made it the ideal choice for manufacturers on almost every continent.

Many homes and buildings constructed before 1980 have a high likelihood of having asbestos in them, but even homes built in the 1990s may contain asbestos in vermiculite insulation. Although these industries were aware of its hazardous qualities, the public was not told anything for several decades.

By taking some easy precautions, exposure to asbestos can be easily avoidable. Having a professional home inspection is a great step in ensuring that your home is free of materials that could harm your health.

Asbestos tips and home inspections

Home inspections are a valuable process that rapidly studies areas of concern in your property and gives you peace of mind. To protect your real estate investment, professional consultants can provide an evaluation of the home. Consultants will identify material defects in structures and components of the home, in adherence to or exceeding national, state, and industry regulations and standards.

Asbestos that is damaged due to age is known as friable asbestos. This is a serious concern because its toxic fibers can easily circulate and be inhaled. The best advice is to leave any suspected asbestos undisturbed until evaluated by a professional. Asbestos that is not disturbed may not be a cause for concern. Normally, asbestos can appear in roof shingles, pipe coverings (especially at water heaters and gas-fired furnaces), dry wall board , attic insulation, joint compounds, electrical wires, gaskets, furnace cement, and fire brick. The material was also used in a type of ceiling called popcorn ceiling. If an individual is exposed to airborne asbestos fibers, it can lead to the development of a form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma itself has a very long latency period with symptoms arising anywhere from 20 to 50 years after exposure. In most patients, this leads to a late diagnosis when the disease is already in an advanced stage of development. On average, the mesothelioma life span of a patient is not as positive as one would hope, ranging between four and eighteen months following diagnosis.

Asbestos removal and alternatives

The California Environmental Protection Agency has information that assists citizens in the inspection, removal, and safe disposal of asbestos. Removal in public facilities, homes, and workplaces must be done by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor. Homeowners should not disturb any suspected asbestos materials as this will release fibers into the air. Depending on the condition of the asbestos, many experts believe it is better to seal it off rather than remove it. The area is usually isolated from the rest of the house by shutting down ventilation systems and sealing them.

Due to expanding technology and long-term cost efficiency evolving at a high rate, the need for environmentally sustainable and healthy building materials is growing as well. Green alternatives to asbestos include the use of lcynene foam, cotton fiber, and cellulose.

Cotton fiber is made from recycled batted material and treated so that it is fireproof. Icynene, a water-based spray polyurethane foam, features no toxic components. Many cities in the United States have begun adapting to the green paradigm in hopes of instilling environmentally sustainable building products that provide a healthy home.
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Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post