If you are purchasing or plan to purchase an older fixer-upper home, there is the possibility that it could contain materials that include asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can cause serious respiratory distress when breathed into the lungs. Before you buy an older home, particularly if you plan to tear out and remodel, it is important to be fully aware of what asbestos is and what it can do.

Why Asbestos is Hazardous

Asbestos is quite hazardous to your health. It is linked to cancer of the lungs, particularly those who work in the construction or demolition industry. If the airways are not protected, asbestos fibers can be inhaled into the lungs and cause a variety of undesirable symptoms, including coughing, inflamed mucous membranes, and coughing up blood.

Where to Find Asbestos in Your Home

If you have an older home, it is not uncommon to find asbestos in roofing shingles, in textured paint, on the ceiling, and even around the stove. Stoves are a prime area for asbestos because older homes, prior to the 1970s, often placed asbestos paper around the stove to prevent fire. Hot water pipes may also contain asbestos as they were often wrapped with asbestos tape.

How to Detect Asbestos in the Home

There is no safe way for you to locate asbestos in your home yourself. If you suspect your home has an asbestos issue, you must call an asbestos abatement company that specializes in the safe removal of asbestos. They will come to your home and perform tests that will determine whether or not you have a problem in your home.

How to Stop Asbestos Exposure

After you have had a positive test for asbestos, it is important to have it removed. It may be possible to stop the exposure by covering any materials that are damaged with asbestos. However, it may be necessary to have the asbestos abatement company come in and remove it completely. This is typically the best route to take in order to keep your family healthy and free of respiratory illness.

Locating and treating your home for asbestos can be quite a painstaking step, but it is so crucial to your overall health. If you have purchased an older home to remodel, or plan to do so in the future, you may want to have a professional, like those at IRS Environmental of WA Inc., come in and check the home for any sign of asbestos. You can then either negotiate the cost of the removal or pass on a home you don't feel is safe for your family.