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Removing Asbestos From Your Home

Aug 17, 2007
During the 1930's asbestos was discovered to be a great material to be used in building homes, it's fire resistant as well as sturdy and strong. It was used on shingles extensively up until the 1970's when it was proven to cause many diseases.

If your home was built during this time, there is a chance that asbestos may have been used, but just because asbestos exists in your home that does not mean that there is risk of developing any of the diseases related to it. It's when the asbestos becomes damaged and the fibers are released into the air that there is a health risk.

Of course, most people who suspect they have asbestos in their home probably want it removed right away, but now matter how much you want to get rid of it, this is a job best left to professionals as the very act of removing it can cause the fibers to become air born and put you and your family at risk.

Today, there are many laws and regulations controlling the removal and disposal of asbestos.

First, a professional should inspect your shingles - if they are still in good condition the best course may be to just leave them as the fibers will not be released and therefore, are not a health risk. However, if you do have asbestos shingles and do decide to leave them it is very important that you do not drill or cut into them in any way as doing so can loosen the fibers.

If the shingles are in bad condition, you have two options - either remove them or repair them. In order to repair them, they must be professionally enclosed so that they are no longer a danger. Removal also requires a professional and disposal can be tricky as some places do not allow disposal of asbestos waste.

As you might imagine, disposing of asbestos can be quite expensive. First of all there are many government regulations to be met. Then there is the safety of those that are removing, gathering and transporting the asbestos. To prevent inhalation of the fibers there must be protective equipment as well as clothing. Care must be taken that no asbestos fibers get into the environment while the removal is taking place. It is a serious and costly undertaking.

These days, most of the homes that used asbestos shingles have either been resided or are gone forever so thankfully few people will have to deal with this issue. If your home has asbestos shingles, your best bet is to consult a professional. Look in the yellow pages for asbestos or hazardous waste removal. It can be an expensive undertaking but well worth your piece of mind.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for Home DIY 101 where you can learn more about home repair and home related issues.
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