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How to detect asbestos in your home

Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals. It was used widely in home building materials and manufacturing industries for much of the 20th century. However, in the 1970s, it was found to be a serious health hazard.

The material composition of the asbestos consists with fibers that has a tendency to break easily into tiny particles and carried by the air. The broken particles of asbestos are as tiny as dust and can easily be inhaled into the surroundings or can easily be ingested when it sticks to clothing.

It was discovered that, when the tiny particles inhaled into the lungs, they could become permanently lodged. After some times, they could cause an illness known as asbestosis, or a rare form of lung and intestinal cancer called mesothelioma. Unluckily, the materials that contain asbestos cannot be removed from your home by yourself because airborne particles would expose and risk your health. As an alternative, you need to have licensed asbestos abatement professionals handle testing and any necessary removal.

Here is some information how to detect asbestos in your home:

1) Be alert of the materials that have asbestos. You have to know the sources of asbestos at home to detect it. Commercial products that contain asbestos are listed below:

- Thermal insulation on pipes and boilers of houses built before 1978.
- Some roofing materials made up of asbestos cement including siding shingles.
- Plasters and mastic glues that are used to fix floor tiles to concrete or woods.
- Some vinyl floor tiles and adhesives as well as the back area.
- Embers and ashes for fireplaces that are fired using gas.
- Old stove walls and floors may contain asbestos paper or cement sheets and its stove-top pads may have some asbestos traces on it too.

2) Carry out some asbestos test if you think that a material in your home is made up of asbestos. Make sure you wear appropriate safety equipment such as mask and clothing before doing your asbestos sampling.

- Get ready a spray bottle; fill it with water and small quantity of detergent.
- Spray at the suspected material until it’s thoroughly soaked. Carefully remove some pieces that less than a square of an inch.
- Group the samples and place them in airtight containers. Check the containers carefully for leaks and accurately label each material stating its description, including the place and the date it was taken. When the samples are ready, make an appointment with the licensed state consultant laboratory within your area for a laboratory test and analysis of your asbestos samples. You can find their contact numbers in the phone directory under "asbestos" or "environmental”.

3) Hire a professional inspector to check your new home. If you just bought a new home, you should have it checked for possible asbestos materials for your own safety and that of your family. If you not have enough money to hire one, call or write to an accredited state laboratory consultant office within your area to request about how you can perform your own asbestos sampling, how they prefer it to be submitted and how much does it cost to have it analyzed.

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