Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was extensively used in construction materials for many years due to its fire-resistant and insulation properties. It was only in recent years that the harmful effects of asbestos on human health were discovered. Although asbestos is no longer used in new construction, it is still present in many older buildings.
Containing materials that contain asbestos is essential in preventing exposure to this harmful substance. In this article, we will discuss what materials contain asbestos, how to identify them, and how to safely contain and dispose of them.
What materials contain asbestos?
Asbestos was widely used in a variety of construction materials, including insulation, roofing, siding, flooring, and many others. The following is a list of some of the most common materials that contain asbestos:
- Insulation: Vermiculite insulation, pipe insulation, furnace insulation, and duct insulation.
- Roofing: Roofing felt, shingles, and flashing.
- Siding: Cement siding, shingles, and sheeting.
- Flooring: Vinyl floor tiles, backing, and adhesive.
- Walls: Plaster, joint compound, and texture coating.
- Electrical: Electrical wiring insulation and panel partitions.
- Others: Fireproofing materials, gaskets, and packing.
How to identify materials that contain asbestos?
Identifying materials that contain asbestos is not always easy as asbestos fibers are microscopic and cannot be detected by sight alone. However, there are a few signs that can help you identify materials that may contain asbestos:
- Age: Materials that were produced before the 1980s are more likely to contain asbestos.
- Texture: Some materials, like popcorn ceilings, have a unique texture that can indicate asbestos content.
- Appearance: Asbestos-containing materials may have a gray or white color and a fibrous appearance.
- Lab testing: If you are unsure whether a material contains asbestos, you can send a sample to a lab for testing.
How to contain asbestos materials?
Containing materials that contain asbestos is essential in preventing exposure to this harmful substance. Here are some steps you can take to safely contain asbestos-containing materials:
- Don't disturb the material: The safest way to deal with asbestos-containing materials is to leave them undisturbed. If the material is in good condition and not being disturbed, then it is not likely to pose a health risk.
- Seal off the area: If the material needs to be removed, the area should be sealed off to prevent the spread of asbestos fibers. This can be done by taping plastic sheeting over doorways and vents.
- Wear protective equipment: Anyone working with asbestos-containing materials should wear protective equipment, including a respirator, gloves, and coveralls.
- Wet the material: Wetting the material before removal will help prevent the release of asbestos fibers into the air.
- Use proper removal techniques: Asbestos-containing material should never be dry sanded, scraped, or sawed, as this can release asbestos fibers. Instead, use proper removal techniques that involve wetting and carefully removing the material.
How to dispose of asbestos materials?
Asbestos-containing materials should be disposed of carefully to prevent exposure to asbestos fibers. Here are some guidelines for proper disposal of asbestos-containing materials:
- Contact your local waste department: Contact your local waste department to find out about the regulations for asbestos disposal in your area.
- Use a licensed asbestos contractor: Asbestos-containing materials should be removed and disposed of by a licensed asbestos contractor.
- Double bagging: Asbestos-containing materials should be double bagged in thick plastic bags to prevent any asbestos fibers from escaping.
- Label the bags: Clearly label the bags as containing asbestos to ensure they are handled appropriately.
Containing materials that contain asbestos is essential in preventing exposure to this harmful substance. Identifying asbestos-containing materials, safely containing them, and disposing of them properly are all vital steps in preventing asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma. If you suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos, seek medical attention immediately. Early detection and treatment are key to improving the chances of survival from mesothelioma.