Saturday 19 January 2013

Yank’s House – Visiting writer this week

A short while back I got a message on the blog.  It read;

 I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


Always happy to talk about the Yank’s house – and answer questions - I sent Brian a message.

It turned out Brian is a health and safety blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. He asked if I would be willing to post something on the danger of finding asbestos when carrying out a restoration of an old property.

We were lucky not to come across any asbestos at the Yank’s House but it seemed a worthy cause and I guess I am a bit flattered that he feels my blog will help get the message out there so here goes. This week’s blog is from Brian.

As always comments very welcome and if you feel this is something you would like to spread the word about please retweet.

Asbestos Basics for the Home Renovator

Asbestos was a popular manufacturing material during much of the twentieth century. Although the dangers were known for quite a while, it took government agencies several years to address the problem. The United States banned asbestos in the 1970s. It was not until after 2000 that other countries, including Australia, approved a ban.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the commercial name for a strong, durable substance made from six natural minerals. Praised for its resistance to fire and heat, it appeared extensively in early manufacturing. Industries across the globe had numerous applications for asbestos, from electrical and building insulation to automobile components. Manufacturers often mixed the substance into cement or wove it into fabric.  

What are the Health Dangers?

Undisturbed asbestos is relatively safe. The danger occurs when someone damages the substance. Cutting, tearing, sawing and sanding asbestos sheets will send microscopic particles into the air. The tiny airborne fibers can enter the lungs and cause significant health damage.

The most common asbestos-related disease is mesothelioma, a rare and malignant cancer. Mesothelioma destroys the lining of the lungs and other internal organs in the chest and abdominal cavities.

Asbestos exposure contributes to other diseases too. Among them are lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural effusion. The outlook varies for people who have these diseases. It generally depends on the disease and how much lung damage has occurred.

Preventing Asbestos Exposure

During the mid-twentieth century, asbestos materials were widely used in building construction. Modern home renovators must use extreme caution when they work on older homes. They are likely to find asbestos in roofing, flooring, siding and insulation materials.

To prevent asbestos exposure and asbestos-related illness, renovators should avoid disturbing any material that may contain the substance. Such material should only be repaired or removed by qualified professionals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or local health department can offer guidance.

The EPA advices homeowners and contractors to wear protective gear when working with asbestos. Facemasks and respirators offer protection against harmful asbestos fibers. To protect family members and onlookers from possible asbestos exposure, home renovators should block off work areas from the rest of the house.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much. It would be great if this blog helped someone else doing the same job.