If you’ve heard of asbestos before, you’re probably well aware that it’s not something you ever want to have in your home. Asbestos is a mineral substance that occurs naturally as small fibers. These fibers are flexible, soft, and resistant to heat and electricity. It is a very effective insulator and can be mixed into a variety of materials (like cement, plastic, and cloth) to make them stronger.
What Was Asbestos Used For?
It is because of these beneficial properties that asbestos became useful on a commercial, industrial, and even household scale, beginning in the 1930’s. Though asbestos was found to be quite toxic and its use was banned in 1977, there are homes throughout the country that still have asbestos lingering in textured paint, patching compounds, and roofing products. It can also still be found in old boilers, cement pipes, electric motor components, and insulation products.
Why is Asbestos Harmful?
Asbestos is most harmful when it has been disturbed, or when materials containing the substance are stimulated in any way that allows the asbestos dust and fibers to be released into the air where they can be ingested or inhaled. The fibers will become trapped in mucus membranes located in the throat and nose. If this is as far as they go, permanent damage may be avoidable. However, if the fibers are allowed into the lungs and digestive tract, the risk is very high for diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
What is Asbestos Encapsulation?
It’s important that great caution be taken when asbestos is found in your home. Any disturbance to the material can cause serious health problems, as we’ve learned above. If asbestos is left to exist in your home, procedures can be carried out to seal them so that they will remain undisturbed and no longer pose a threat to you and your family’s health.
Asbestos encapsulation is the process in which asbestos-containing materials are treated with strong sealants. These sealants surround the fibers and prevent them from ever being released into the air. This proven method works by creating a membrane that binds itself with asbestos fibers and ultimately encapsulates the asbestos-containing material completely, allowing you and your family to remain in your home without risk of asbestos exposure.
If you suspect you have asbestos-containing material in your home, your first course of action should be to have a full inspection conducted. If asbestos is detected, you can then weigh your options for treatment.