Debunking 3 Myths About Asbestos In Residential Buildings

Posted on: 15 May 2019

You may have heard that many older houses built before the 1970s were constructed using asbestos insulation, leading you to worry that your older home may contain the material. However, you may not really know that much about asbestos except for rumors you have heard about the material and its health effects. Below are some of the myths about asbestos, as well as the truth behind them.

1.  Asbestos Is Only a Danger to Industrial and Construction Workers

One myth you may have heard about asbestos is that you are safe as long as you do not work with it. It only affects industrial and construction workers who have to handle the material on a daily basis, so even if you have it in your house, you and your family are safe, right?

The truth behind this myth is that anyone who has been exposed to asbestos, whether in a commercial or residential environment, is at risk.

If the asbestos in your house starts to deteriorate, or you disturb it while hanging a picture or knocking into one of your walls, the microscopic fibers will be released into the air. When the fibers are breathed into the lungs, they settle on the tissue and can remain there for years.

Over time, the fibers inside the lungs can make the cells start to grow abnormally, leading to a specific type of cancer called mesothelioma. This aggressive, fast-growing cancer is only associated with exposure to asbestos.

2.  Asbestos Is Safe as Long as You Do Not Disturb It

Since problems caused by asbestos are the result of the fibers being released into the air, you may have heard that you are safe as long as you do not disturb it. As long as you do not try to break into the walls, the insulation will remain intact, and you do not have to worry about exposure, right?

This myth is only partially true. While it is true that asbestos can only affect you if it remains intact, there are numerous ways that it can break down without you physically damaging it.

For example, the insulation in your home may start to deteriorate over time because of age or even water exposure. As the insulation deteriorates, the fibers are released.

Also, if you ever see any mice or rats in your house, there is a good chance that they are crawling inside of your walls. As they do so, they are tearing through the insulation and breaking up the asbestos.

3.  Asbestos Can Be Safely Removed by the Homeowner

Now that you know that asbestos can cause problems in your house, you may be tempted to try to replace all of the insulation in your old house. As long as you wear a mask and gloves, you should be safe from its effects, right?

You should never try to remove insulation that may be constructed with asbestos by yourself. Even if you think you are taking the proper precautions, there is still a good chance that you will send thousands of fibers into your home's airs where they will remain for years. Before you do attempt to remove the insulation or even have a contractor do it for you, it is vital that you have the insulation tested to see if it contains asbestos.

If you live in an older home that you suspect contains asbestos insulation, you should seriously consider contacting a business like The Healthy Abode that offers residential asbestos testing. If the results come back positive, you can then speak with the professionals about the next step you need to take to make sure your house is safe for you and your family.