Though naturally occurring, asbestos is referred to as a major health hazard. Inhalation of these fibres has been linked to a variety of respiratory conditions including cancer. These diseases may not manifest right away. A person may even contract illnesses only after 30-50 years from his last fibre inhalation or exposure.
In the mid to late 1980s, asbestos-containing materials (ACM) were widely used for both house and building constructions. Many of these materials are still in place today. They remain harmless when intact, but when they start to decay or crack and are being repaired or replaced, hazardous fibres may be released into the air and inhaled by both workers and dwellers.
If your home is built before the ‘90s, have your house inspected for the possible presence of this harmful material prior to starting any renovation or repair work.
Include asbestos management in your budget
Home renovation is a significant investment and you would want every penny you spend to go to the right places. But remember its your responsibility to ensure proper asbestos management, to protect your own, your family’s and your neighbours’ health. Assume your old house materials contain this material and pose potential health risks until tested. You may want to spend on new furniture and homewares to completely spruce up your home, but don’t forget to include asbestos management in your budget.
Always ask help from the experts
To identify asbestos-containing materials and have them removed, make sure to engage the services of reliable and licensed workers. The DIY route is a no-no in this case; you might cause more harm than good. There are legal guidelines in effect with regards to handling these materials, and only a competent testing and removal company can produce a comprehensive asbestos management plan to safely identify, test, remove, transport and dispose these hazardous materials from your home.
Orientate your family and neighbours to your asbestos management plan
Prior to the testing and removal inform your neighbours. Awareness is important for them to take precautions and avoid going near your house as much as possible to prevent inhalation of fibres. Keep them updated about the status of your project.
Ensure that your family members, especially kids, are well oriented about safety guidelines while the renovation is in progress. Better yet, find a temporary dwelling where you can stay until all renovation works are completed.
It is important that you include asbestos management in your renovation plans. Materials containing these fibrous silicate minerals are dangerous. You don’t want to end up regretting after 20 or 50 years when you or a loved one gets sick because you didn’t bother to spend for asbestos testing and removal during that home renovation project.