Friday, January 17, 2014

Asbestos: Think Before You Renovate Your Older Home

Happy TGIF my peeps!  I hope you've had an awesome week so far and have a great weekend planned. Luckily, for me, it is a THREE day weekend - WOO HOO!!!!!!!!  I am SO happy about that!  I don't know about you, but I could use the extra day of rest - especially since this was the first full week back after the holidays AND vacation.....  :)

On another note, I was contacted by Rachel Walker who represents a couple of days ago.  She asked me if I would be willing to share with my readers the seriousness of Asbestos, and I said I would.  She has written a very informative article below that I thought would be interesting and helpful.  Anyway, the article was very well written and very informative.  I hope you will be able to take something away from it, like I have.  So without further adieu:

Asbestos: Think Before You Renovate Your Older Home

For many families who live in older houses, home improvement and renovation projects are often affordable alternatives to moving and buying a new home. Some families like the stability of living in the same neighborhood for many years. Others may have more kids over the years but prefer to upgrade their existing home to accommodate a growing family instead of moving to a larger place. In many cases, some families need to repair or replace aging or damaged areas of a house to keep it in good condition.

If you live in a home that was built before the early 1980s and you’re planning to do a home improvement project, you need to know about the dangers of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a group of minerals once used extensively as a cheap but effective fire retardant. Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are also good thermal and sound insulators. Abundant and inexpensive, asbestos was used in many American construction products for many years until the government linked asbestos exposure to various diseases in the late 1970s. Consequently, most homes built between 1940 and 1980 contain at least one asbestos-derived product.

 According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos in older homes can be found in a variety of appliances, products, and in different areas of the home, including:

     Floor vinyl
     Wall and attic insulation
     Wood-burning stoves
     Water pipes
     Roofing and shingles
     Some paints
     Window caulking and glazing
     Siding material

If you live in a home where asbestos is present, its imperative to understand that as the material ages and becomes worn out, asbestos fibers may become friable and disturbed easily. Keep this in mind before you start tearing down any walls or removing old insulation. However, as long as any ACMs are left undisturbed,  there usually isn’t a reason to worry. Yet, it’s recommended to contact a qualified asbestos professional to be certain that your home contain asbestos. Until then, no renovations or repairs should be made on an older home.

Why Asbestos is So Dangerous

Asbestos contains long, thin fibers that are undetectable to the human eye. These fibers can be easily inhaled unbeknownst to the people who ingested them. Once the fibers are lodged in the body, it’s difficult to remove them. Over time, the fibers can damage the body’s organs, leading to life-threatening diseases such as malignant mesothelioma.

Children in particular are more at risk for ingesting asbestos fibers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children breathe more rapidly, have a different lung structure, and tend to consume more fluids than adults. Furthermore, children have more time in which they can be exposed to asbestos. It’s imperative to never let children play around furnaces or roughhouse around any areas in the home that may contain asbestos.

Adults who worked in industries that heavily relied on asbestos prior to regulations are at the highest risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. In fact, since the 1970s, there have been a multitude of asbestos lawsuits after thousands upon thousands of people began to develop asbestosis, malignant mesothelioma, and other illnesses caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos.

For more information on how to locate a state-qualified asbestos professional in your area, contact your local health department. Remember, you should never try to detect asbestos yourself, and you should never start any home renovation projects before determining if your home contains asbestos. For more detailed-information on asbestos, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 800-CDC-INFO.

Thanks for stopping by - I hope you have a WONDERFUL long weekend.  Tomorrow my day will consist of FINALLY getting my CHRISTmas tree down - don't judge - we were gone for 9 days on vacation, remember??!! LOL  

Lots of love and hugs,

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