Asbestos has been used in hundreds of applications and products over the past 4,500 years. The ancient Greeks wove it into oil lamp wicks, funeral shrouds and ceremonial tablecloths. During the 1800s, it insulated the hot engines, boilers and piping that powered the Industrial Revolution. For half a century, until the 1980s, asbestos was used in office buildings, public buildings and schools. It insulated hot water heating systems, and was put into walls and ceilings as insulation against fire and sound.
Vermiculite insulation is the prominent source of asbestos in most homes. Homes built or renovated prior to 1991 may have had vermiculite insulation added to their home. The attic is the most common area where vermiculite was used.
If you see vermiculite insulation in the attic, assume that it contains asbestos and do not disturb it. Stay on the floored part of the attic. Any disturbance has the potential to release asbestos fibers into the air which can increases your risk of developing lung disease. Also, disturbance may result in the fibers being deposited into other areas of the home.
Doing minor repairs, involving asbestos, yourself is not recommended since improper handling of asbestos materials can create a hazard where none existed. If you nevertheless choose to do minor repairs, you should have as much information as possible on the handling of asbestos before doing anything. Contact your state or local health department or regional EPA office for information about asbestos training programs in your area.
If your home has a problem that requires the services of asbestos professionals, check their credentials carefully. Hire professionals who are trained, experienced, reputable, and accredited – especially if accreditation is required by Province or local laws. Before hiring a professional, ask for references from previous clients. Find out if they were satisfied. Ask whether the professional has handled similar situations. Get cost estimates from several professionals, as the charges for these services can vary.
Asbestos exposure becomes a health concern when high concentrations of asbestos fibers are inhaled over a long time period. People who become ill from inhaling asbestos are often those who are exposed on a day-to-day basis in a job where they worked directly with the material. As a person’s exposure to fibers increases, because of being exposed to higher concentrations of fibers and/or by being exposed for a longer time, then that person’s risk of disease also increases. Disease is very unlikely to result from a single, high-level exposure, or from a short period of exposure to lower levels.
The Barrie Home Inspector has been trained to identify and inspect asbestos in the home. Hiring a professional home inspector can protect you and potentially save you from thousands of dollars in asbestos removal expenses. Many people may cover insulation like vermiculite with a blown insulating product which makes visual detection impossible without actually entering attic and moving existing insulation. Using the Barrie Home Inspector will provide Peace of Mind when purchasing your next property.