Asbestos

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in General | 0 comments

I have been researching asbestos and recently took a class regarding asbestos detection, management and removal.  I felt as a home inspector I should have all the facts about asbestos, since it is a common question asked by my clients during a home inspection. Asbestos is a fiber found in the veins of rock. Its use can be traced back  thousands of years. Asbestos became very popular during WW2 due to its strength, resistance to high temperatures, resistance to corrosion and insulating qualities. It was widely used on warships at this time. After the war its useful properties became very popular in construction. Up until the 1970′s little was understood about the effects of asbestos on human health. We now know that it is a factor in lung disease. It can cause Asbestosis, Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma (Mesothelioma is always fatal).  The effect of asbestos on human health is often not apparent until 10, 20 or even 30 years after being exposed to asbestos. By the mid 1980′s asbestos in construction has been virtually eliminated in North America. It is still used in construction materials in other parts of the world.  Mining of asbestos continued in Canada and the US for export until 2002, when the last of the mines were shut down.  Other countries in the world India, Pakistan and Vietnam for example, are still using asbestos.  China and the Soviet Union still mine for asbestos.  There is an effort in Quebec to re-open the Jeffery Mine near the town of Asbestos, Quebec.  Although this option is popular in Quebec, the rest of Canada is opposed to this idea. The question is how do you know if you have asbestos and what do you do about it if you do?  Each situation is different so it needs to be managed differently. I am an Asbestos Consultant.  I survey a property for asbestos containing materials and take samples of anything that could contain asbestos.  Since asbestos fibers are only harmful when they are airborne, I also sample the air for fibers.  These samples are sent to a lab for analysis.  Finally, if asbestos is present, I create a management plan specific to your situation.  If you have an older home there is a fairly good chance there is some asbestos in it.  One key point is that asbestos that is contained or undisturbed is not harmful, since the fibers are not airborne.  The time you need to be concerned is if you are planning a major renovation, or when there has been unusual damage to a home such as flooding, fire or physical destruction. An asbestos survey is a very different process than a home inspection.  Since asbestos sampling requires some destruction, and may stir up fibers, sampling can not be done as part of a pre-purchase inspection only a home owner can authorize this type of...

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