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Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals, which separate into fine fibres. Because of its durability, it has been used in many products around the home such as pipe and duct insulation, vinyl floor tiles, roofing materials, exterior siding, wallboard, electrical wires, artificial fireplaces, textured paints, toasters, and furnaces. Asbestos has been used since the 1940’s because it is not affected by heat or chemicals and does not conduct electricity.

Asbestos itself is not an immediate hazard. It becomes a health risk only when loose fibres are in the air that you breathe. These fibres can lodge in your lungs, causing scarring called Asbestosis that may inhibit their function and may lead to cancer such as Mesothelioma. The fibres are released into the air only when products containing asbestos deteriorate from age or when they are cut. We can put ourselves at risk if we do not take proper precautions when repairing or renovating materials containing asbestos. Medical studies of people exposed to asbestos determined that symptoms of these diseases may not appear until 20 – 40 years after their first exposure.

Asbestosis - When asbestos fibers are inhaled and become trapped in the lung tissue, the body produces an acid in an attempt to dissolve these fibers. Because asbestos has a chemical resistance, the acid does very little damage to the fibre itself.  It will, however, scar the surrounding tissue, eventually becoming so severe that the lungs no longer function properly.

Mesothelioma – This is a form of cancer which medical science has determined to be only caused by asbestos exposure. It affects the Pleura, which is the outer lining of the lung and chest cavity and the Peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdominal wall.
Determine whether certain materials in your home are releasing asbestos fibres.  As a rule of thumb, if your home was built before 1978, you may have asbestos-containing materials. If the materials are in good shape and will not be disturbed, LEAVE IT ALONE. If you are concerned, you may want to have the materials in question inspected and repaired by a professional. Repair usually involves either sealing or covering asbestos material, and should be done by a professional trained to safely handle asbestos.  Removal is the LAST RESORT.
If you are concerned that your home may have materials containing asbestos call Home Heroes today for testing and recommendations to ensure your family is breathing easy!
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