Asbestos is a mineral that is found naturally and is composed of heat and fire-resistant fibers, which quickly became a regular addition to building materials and textiles. After it had been introduced to many different industries it was discovered that asbestos causes problems with the lungs, including cancer.
In the construction industry, asbestos was used in countless materials, including tiles and pipes. Prior to 1970, it was found in 20% of all boiler and pipe insulation. When you see anything about asbestos on your new home’s inspection report, it’s important to learn about the different risks and dangers associated with asbestos.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the name for the six minerals made of natural fibers that naturally resist heat, fire, electricity, and chemicals. These qualities made asbestos a popular material in many industries, from construction to textiles. Unfortunately, it was discovered that the fibers break and separate into pieces small enough that they can’t be seen, which can be inhaled easily.
The Dangers Of Asbestos
When someone has been breathing in asbestos fibers for an extended amount of time, those fibers build up and increase their risk for many different diseases, including asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. The risks are higher for smokers, as the lung passages are also irritated by the cigarette smoke. This irritation makes it harder for the asbestos fibers to be removed by the lungs.
What Does The Real Estate Exam Say About Asbestos?
The real estate exam asbestos questions include questions that may be similar to the following:
- What percentage of construction contained asbestos in the boiler or pipe insulation before 1970?
- What category is least suspected of releasing asbestos fibers into the air?
- Which Assembly Bill requires warning signs to state asbestos is present?
How Asbestos Is Identified
While you can differentiate between the three types of asbestos, the fibers are so tiny that they can only be identified under a microscope. There are three different types of asbestos which can be identified by the color of the fibers:
- Crocidolite (blue)
- Amosite (brown)
- Chrysotile (white)
Outside of looking at the fibers under a microscope, samples of the material can be sent to a qualified laboratory for testing where they will determine whether or not it contains asbestos.
Are Asbestos Inspections Needed?
Because it was used so frequently, many many people have been exposed to it in one way or another. In homes built until the 1980s, asbestos was used in thousands of different products. Asbestos inspections may not be needed in newer builds, but they should definitely be done for older homes and buildings.
This doesn’t mean only older buildings need to be checked. Asbestos is regulated in the United States but it hasn’t been banned, so there is always the chance that a newer home has asbestos in it. The only way to know for sure is to have a qualified laboratory test it.
Trust The Experts In Asbestos Removal To Keep Your Home Safe
With how popular it was, it’s no surprise that you’ll have asbestos questions when you get your inspection back. Asbestos is a natural material that is heat and fire-resistant, which made it a popular addition to building materials, fabrics, and more.
If your home was built before 1990, there is a good chance that you have asbestos in some areas of the house. Removing it yourself without the proper safety equipment can lead to problems, so if you need asbestos removed, it’s best to contact a team of professionals to handle the removal.