What is Asbestos?

You may have heard the term, and may even know that it can be harmful to you, but, do you know what Asbestos is and why it was used for so long in the past?

Asbestos is a family of naturally-occurring minerals with heat-resistant and insulating properties. Not only used as recently as the 1980s in the construction industry as an effective insulator, Asbestos has been known by cultures for thousands of years and used for a variety of reasons. However, even then, the health risks were known but kept from those who physically mined the minerals and found themselves in close proximity to it.

When viewed under a microscope, the structure of Asbestos can best be described as hook-like, and when inhaled, attaches itself to tissue in the lungs, causing scarring and other damage, and is not expelled from the body easily. This can cause not only pleuritis, but also lung cancer and mesothelioma. Unfortunately, symptoms developing after exposure to Asbestos can take upwards of 20-50 years, potentially leaving people without answers when their symptoms do manifest.

To avoid accidental exposure to Asbestos and Asbestos-containing materials, practice care when performing any kind of work on your home. This includes being aware of the age of your property; use of Asbestos-containing materials in building applications saw a sharp decline after 1980, however, there may still be Asbestos-containing materials in your home built as late as the mid 1980’s (read more here…). These materials could include: flooring tiles, ceiling tiles, roofing materials, insulation, popcorn ceilings, among other things.

In all cases, due to the high risk of exposure to Asbestos-containing materials, we strongly recommend using an Asbestos Abatement company with years of experience when choosing to have any and all materials removed from your home. In addition, be aware that any company that will be creating openings in your walls or ceilings has an obligation to research the age of the property before beginning work, and, if found to be built before 1981, must perform an Asbestos test before work can begin. Anything less is negligent, but with IRS, you’re always in capable hands.