Asbestos is commonly present in popcorn ceilings and other texture materials. More than 39,000 people die yearly because of developing asbestos-related health issues
Testing for asbestos is imperative if you are worried about the presence of asbestos on your property. Once you’ve located it, you can hire professionals to assist you in sealing it off or removing it from your home. Continue reading to learn how you can find asbestos in your house.
Is Asbestos Harmful?
Asbestos is a harmful element that can cause severe lung conditions. When disrupted, small fragments of asbestos can spread in the air and can be easily inhaled. They can damage lung tissues and can cause lung cancer. Asbestos is frequently found in the thermal insulation of pipes and boilers in buildings constructed before 1975. It spreads from these places and impacts your health.
Some other sources of asbestos are:
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Blown-in attic insulation
- The glue that fixes floor tiles to wood or concrete
- Roofing material
- Window caulking
- Siding material
- HVAC dust insulation
- Some types of paint
- Fiber cement siding
- Corrugated 8’X4’ panels
When Can Asbestos Be Dangerous?
Properties in good condition don’t create asbestos dust. The simplest and most effective way to deal with asbestos is to leave it if it’s not cracked or damaged to spread asbestos in the air.
Remember that the danger comes when a material with asbestos gets damaged or disturbed over time. These materials produce a powder when scraped, sawed, or sanded, leading to health hazards.
How to Test for Asbestos?
Step#1: Prepare for the Test
Do not touch and try to clean the area from where you want to collect a sample. Shut all the heaters, doors, windows, and air conditioning systems that will circulate the air to prevent asbestos from spreading in the area.
Before you begin the process, wear protective gear like gloves, face masks, and shoe covers to protect yourself from touching or breathing asbestos. Remember to wear long pants and long sleeves for optimal protection.
Step#2: Blanket the Area with Plastic Sheeting
Cover the work area with plastic sheeting to prevent potential asbestos dust from settling on the ground during the testing process. Spray water over the entire area to mist all surfaces and humidify the air.
Step#3: Take the Sample
Don’t rush to take the sample. Go slow and steady to minimize dust. Choose a place to take the sample and use a chisel or knife to loosen the sample from the wall, floor, and any material you want to test. Note that your sample should weigh between 5 and 100 grams. Spray water on the loosened sample to help it settle and mist the air around the workplace.
Step#4: Transfer the Sample
Use pliers to transfer the sample to the zip-lock bag. Use a wet wipe to prevent sample particles from sticking to the pliers. Now, pick up the sample and toss it in the bag.
Seal the plastic bag tightly. To aid professionals in the testing process, write the relevant information on the bag, like the location of the sample collection, the sample’s contents, and the collection date. When you’re done, put this bag in another zip-lock plastic bag to keep it safe. You may clear the air of dust by misting it.
Step#5: Clear Up the Working Station
Fold up the sheeting you placed on the floor and throw it in the garbage. Start vacuuming the space and try to clean up hard-to-reach surfaces. Once you are done, dispose of the vacuum bag while making sure no dust comes out from the vacuum bag. If you have a bagless vacuum, you need to take the canister inside the trash bag and carefully clear it.
Wipe the canister with the wet rag and dispose of it in the plastic trash bag. Take another wipe and do the same process again to thoroughly clean it. Also, clean the working area with a wet cloth and dispose of it. Tape your garbage bag close so that things don’t fall from it.
Step#6: Repaint the Surface
You need to seal the area from where you have taken a sample. Apply a thick coat of paint you like on the area. After drying, the paint will prevent dust from getting into the air. Also, discard the paintbrush, as it might contain asbestos on it.
Step#7: Dispose of Protective Gear
Remove your protective gear, gloves, clothes, or facemask, and throw them in the trash bag. Tape the trash bag and dispose of it also. Ensure all your protective gears go directly into the trash bag, not touching any place.
Step#8: Submit Your Sample
Look for the EPA-certified asbestos testing lab from the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program to send your sample. Check out the requirements and instructions of the laboratory to follow. Keep in mind that labs don’t accept samples if you don’t follow their guidelines.
After sending the sample, the result can take more than three weeks. Therefore, try to send the sample as soon as possible to get the results. Some laboratories offer emergency testing services. But they will cost you more than the standard service.
Though asbestos is not commonly used in today’s construction materials, it has been an important element in constructing different things in the past, including ceilings, roofs, and boilers. Since it has adverse impacts on health, you need to stop it from spreading to protect yourself and your family. For that, opt for asbestos testing to help determine its presence. Also, don’t try to fix the problem by yourself. Hire experts who can repair or seal the surfaces to create a barrier between you and asbestos to prevent it from spreading.