Last Updated on 23rd March 2023 by Dan
Being worried about asbestos is completely normal due to its link to cancer. However, there are ways to put your mind at ease and stop worrying about it. At Armco, we are experts in the asbestos industry. We want to help worried homeowners by providing the following tips on how to stop worrying about asbestos.
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that can pose serious health risks; however, not all forms of asbestos are dangerous. For example, you would have to be exposed to large quantities of asbestos vinyl flooring or house cladding over an extended period of time before experiencing any adverse effects.
The risk asbestos poses occurs when the materials it’s in are damaged. If they’re old, frayed, or torn in any way, that’s when microscopic fibers of asbestos can be released into the air and breathed in. Once inhaled, these fibers can stick to your lung tissue.
With enough exposure, asbestos fibers latch onto your lungs, become inflamed, and lead to deadly conditions such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and pleural thickening.
Though a single asbestos exposure event may not have visible effects, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers are so small that they can enter your body through inhalation or ingestion and cause health problems later on down the road–you would be very unlucky to only be exposed once and experience these issues.
The majority of asbestos-related fatalities in New Zealand are linked to high-exposure events that took place in the past, such as industrial processing and trade work. In these situations, people were frequently exposed to asbestos without knowing the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other preventive measures.
Recent studies have found that asbestos levels present in the air are lower than they were in earlier years. The risk of developing health complications from airborne exposure to asbestos is thought to be around 1 in 100,000 but might actually be even lower than that.
The airborne asbestos risks according to World Health Organisation criteria would be classified as a low-level risk, which is similar to the cancer risk from eating charcoal-broiled meat or the risks associated with being struck and killed by lightning.
When we first learned about the dangers of asbestos-containing materials (ACM), every property owner was in the same predicament. Everything from cladding and insulation to roofing materials, walls, and flooring could contain asbestos and often did in nearly every home built before 1990.
While asbestos used to be a major problem in construction, if you purchase a property built after 1990, you likely don’t have to worry about it. With cities constantly updating and replacing old housing stock, asbestos is becoming less common.
Although not knowing can be scary, it is often less frightening than what you may discover. If you are concerned that your home might have asbestos, don’t spend restless nights worrying until you get answers. You can test for the presence of asbestos in building materials like roofing to know exactly what you’re dealing with.
If you think there is asbestos in your home, it’s important to get tested by a professional. Asbestos removalists will take a sample of the material and analyze it to see if it contains asbestos. If so, they’ll present some options for what to do next. Oftentimes, those options are removing the materials safely or encapsulating them (which involves sealing them off so they can’t spread). Encapsulation tends to be a popular option with more dangerous types of asbestos that are better left untouched than removed.
Published Oct 25, 2022