Because it is versatile, fire-resistant and lightweight, asbestos was widely used in construction materials for many years. Although the production of asbestos-containing materials has diminished through the decades because of its health hazards, many buildings and homes nowadays still contain asbestos, mainly in roofing, insulation, and floor tile. Oftentimes, it is also found in caulking, plaster, as well as exterior windowsills.
Whether you are planning to remodel your home or have it demolished, an asbestos testing is necessary before foregoing such work. Even if you were initially told that your home does not contain asbestos, the law mandates testing for asbestos to verify that no harmful microfibers are present in the property.
You cannot simply identify products that may have asbestos just by looking at them. You need to test a sample of the material. If you suspect you have asbestos in your home you can forego with the asbestos testing.
You can conduct your own sampling, following the proper precautions. Typically, you will need an asbestos test kit to take a sample, and the help of an accredited asbestos laboratory to confirm the presence of asbestos. To prevent the release of airborne asbestos fibers, it is crucial to adhere to the following precautions and instructions during an asbestos testing:
* Wear a disposable respirator, gloves and protective clothing.
* Turn off your cooling and heating systems in the contaminated area to reduce the spread of the asbestos fibers. Also, seal the area off, making certain children and pets will not be able to go in.
* Place a sheet of plastic on the floor around the area where the sample is to be taken.
* Prior to taking a sample, moisten or wet the material with mist of water to minimize asbestos fiber release.
* Cut out a small piece from the material using a clean knife. Make sure to get a portion of all of the material’s layers.
* Put the sample in a clean, dry zip lock bag to contain it.
* Wipe the bag with damp paper towel. This will remove any material that may have stuck to the bag while you were taking the sample.
* Carefully patch up the area where you cut the sample using duct tape.
* Clean the area. Fold up the sheet of plastic carefully and use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe off surfaces surrounding the material.
* Seal the paper towels, cloths, gloves, mask, and other asbestos wastes in a zip lock bag. Check with your municipality how and where you can dispose of the waste.
* Take a shower to wash away any fibers that may have adhered to your skin and hair.
* Finally, deliver the sample to an accredited laboratory for asbestos testing. Make sure the bag is properly labeled with the location of the material it was taken from, and the date when it was taken.
Testing for asbestos can be quite complicated for unexperienced individuals. If you are not certain about the asbestos testing procedure, you can hire a company that provides this service.