Asbestos Was Once a Popular

modern glass building with asbestos sheet siding

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that was once widely used in building materials, because it’s fire-resistant and has some insulating properties. It was a component of thousands of building materials that were used in construction of residential structures. Because it’s also relatively inexpensive, asbestos insulation, siding, and roofing were very popular for residences and public buildings such as schools.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that was once widely used in building materials, because it’s fire-resistant and has some insulating properties. It was a component of thousands of building materials that were used in construction of residential structures. Because it’s also relatively inexpensive, asbestos insulation, siding, and roofing were very popular for residences and public buildings such as schools.

The Dangers of Asbestos

Asbestos is a highly friable material. This means that as it ages, its fibers break down very easily into tiny filaments that can appear to be dust and that are easily breathed into the lungs. The result is serious and deadly lung diseases that can appear decades after the material is inhaled.

Illnesses and ultimately the deaths of workers in manufacturing processes using asbestos drew attention to the dangers of breathing in asbestos fibers. The lung diseases associated with inhalation of asbestos are particularly debilitating and result in very difficult illnesses and deaths.

There are four main diseases associated with inhalation of asbestos fibers: mesothelioma (a form of cancer affecting the lung linings), other asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestos is (a non-malignant scarring of the lungs), and non-malignant pleural disease (a diffused thickening of pleural tissues and pleural plaques).

Asbestos Is No Longer Used in Construction

In 1978, the use of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) was banned in all construction. There are still numerous properties, many of them residential, with asbestos siding and insulation. There are strict guidelines for the removal and destruction of ACMs. This is because the act of removal releases asbestos filaments into the air (filaments are also released in the course of normal wear and tear, just in smaller amounts and over a longer period of time).Many states have strict requirements regarding the removal of ACMs, including the use of licensed technicians and specially sealed environments. In addition, some cities have additional regulations, so be sure to check the laws in your area. Improper removal procedures will increase the contamination of air within a structure, thus increasing the danger to residents.

Encapsulation Is a Form of Asbestos Removal

In the encapsulation process, the disintegrating asbestos is sealed off using special sealing materials so that broken filaments cannot escape. In certain circumstances, encapsulation may be preferable to removal, but the property owner must periodically monitor the encapsulated asbestos to be certain that there are no escaping filaments. An effective encapsulation almost always requires professional asbestos remediators.

Asbestos in Homes

Homes built between 1930 and 1950 may have insulation that contains asbestos. In addition, asbestos may be present in certain wall paints, ceiling tiles, vinyl flooring, and even in the insulation around hot water and steam pipes.

Advise Your Clients and Customers Wisely when Addressing Asbestos

Let’s say the original owner calls you to list a house that was built in 1952. The exterior siding is asbestos shingles, and the lower portion of the shingles is damaged. In this type of case, you should advise the seller of his options, which should include:

  • Hiring state-licensed remediators to encapsulate the shingles before listing to avoid asbestos removal problems
  • Listing the damaged asbestos shingles on the property condition form and selling the property in as-is condition at a lower price
  • Hiring state-licensed technicians to remove the asbestos shingles

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