Asbestos is widely known as a harmful material that is commonly found in building materials. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause asbestosis, a respiratory condition that's characterized by shortness of breath, swellings around the face and neck, and inflammation of the lungs. There are so various misconceptions surrounding asbestos and its exposure to the environment, some of which can lead one to make decisions that may risk their health and that of others. Here you will learn some of the common misconceptions and facts about asbestos so that you can make the management decisions.
New buildings don't have asbestos
In many states, the use of asbestos in construction materials was banned in the 1990s. However, this does not mean that all the buildings that were constructed shortly after the ban are free of asbestos. Before the ban was fully implemented, many contractors still used materials that contained asbestos in their composition.
The only way to ascertain that a building is free of asbestos is by carrying out an asbestos survey. Samples of the construction materials are taken to a specialist for testing. Unless an inspection has been carried out, you should not assume that new construction is free of asbestos.
Asbestos should be removed immediately it is found in a building
It is a common myth that once you find out that your home has asbestos, you should have it removed immediately. However, this is not always the way to handle asbestos in a building. In fact, trying to remove the materials will only expose you to the fibers and increase the risk of contracting respiratory complications.
A qualified asbestos remediation officer is the only person who can determine the best management technique for handling asbestos. If your building is new, they may recommend that you don't disturb the materials. However, for an old building with structural defects, the asbestos must be removed and disposed of carefully to prevent exposure to the environment.
Wearing a mask can protect you from asbestos fibers
In an attempt to handle asbestos without consulting a professional, many people decide to purchase face masks with the belief that they will be protected from the fibers. However, as long as the mask you have doesn't have filtration elements, you will still inhale the fibers in the air. The fibres are minute and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Only the specialist masks which are designed with filtration can protect you from asbestos fibers and the health risks associated with inhaling them.
Now that you have the facts about asbestos, you should be in a better position to protect yourself from it. Inform an asbestos inspector immediately you suspect that your building may have asbestos so that you can have the proper asbestos removal.