Dangers of Removing Asbestos Yourself
Asbestos is found in more places than you might think. Although it was regulated decades ago, the hazardous mineral can still be found in homes, appliances, schools, hospitals, churches, and even in drinking water. If you live in a home built prior to the early 1980s, chances are that you could be living with asbestos-containing materials. The good news, however, is that it can be contained and removed; but it’s a task you should never take on by yourself.
Before you start any renovations on your home or any appliance repairs, you’ll need to figure out whether your home does indeed contains asbestos. Since asbestos fibers are tiny, odorless, and impossible to detect with the human eye, it’s recommended that you find an asbestos inspection professional that’s experienced in detecting asbestos.
Even if you only suspect your home may have asbestos, stop any renovations and repair plans you have immediately. Since you can’t see asbestos fibers, you’ll never know how much of those deadly fibrils you inhale. Keep in mind that if you start renovations or repairs on a home or appliance that contains asbestos, you run the risk of disturbing the fibers, which can quickly become airborne throughout the vicinity. This not only puts you at risk, but also anyone else in the home, including any pets.
When asbestos fibers are inhaled, sometimes they are not all removed from your system. Over time, the fibers become lodged in your body and attached to the linings of major organs, causing scarring that can eventually lead to life-threatening diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.
Due to the dangers of asbestos, most state laws and federal regulations make it illegal for people to remove asbestos themselves from a public or commercial building, unless of course, they’re trained as an asbestos abatement professional. Although this may be disheartening to those who enjoy DIY and home repair projects, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Hiring a professional might also keep you out of legal trouble and keep you from having to pay substantial fines.
If you still want to do repairs and renovations yourself, you should consider getting the proper training beforehand. Most people, unless they plan on making asbestos abatement a career, typically find a trained professional.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos generally isn’t dangerous unless disturbed. If you suspect your home has asbestos, do not touch it and do not perform any activities that could cause asbestos disruption, including cleaning, sweeping, or demolition. Additionally, don’t try to pick up and discard any materials you think may contain asbestos, and if you have children, never let them play around areas that you suspect has asbestos.
A number of people assume that asbestos was a thing of the past, only affecting those who worked at job sites that used the mineral in materials. Yet, asbestos is just as dangerous now as it’s ever been, and mesothelioma lawsuits continue to increase, even from people who were affected by simply living in their own home. In fact, there’s been so many lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers that many of these companies opened asbestos trust funds to help compensate thousands of asbestos victims.
If you suspect asbestos in your home, there is no need to panic or to pack up and move. Take the proper aforementioned precautions and you’ll more than likely be safe.
We would like to thank Katherine Keys with the Mesothelioma Lawyer Center for contributing this article to asbestosabatementdallas.com.