Use Asbestos Testing to Prevent Unexpected Health Issues
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral used for its strength and heat-resistance in building materials in older homes. Houses built before 1980 may contain asbestos in materials, including floor tiles, insulation, ceiling tiles, and other materials used in constructing the home.
Asbestos dust is released into the air when asbestos materials become damaged or deteriorate over time. Once asbestos is airborne, it is highly toxic and becomes a severe health hazard if inhaled. Airborne asbestos particles can cause scarring of the tissue lining in the lungs (mesothelioma) and lung cancer.
Caution regarding asbestos is essential before renovating or buying an older home. A visual inspection of the house may not reveal the presence of asbestos, so it’s important to have your home tested by an EPA-approved certified professional contractor. These trained contractors have specialized equipment to minimize the risk of exposure and are licensed to handle asbestos.
Testing for asbestos starts with the contractor placing plastic sheeting below the location of the testing sample. Then the area is sprayed with water, which will keep loose fibers from becoming airborne. Next, a tool is used to collect the sample from the material. The contractor places the sample in a sealable container and sends it to an accredited lab for performing the asbestos analysis.
For building materials, the most common method of testing is Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM). This testing method uses the properties of polarized light to analyze specific properties in fibers. This process allows researchers to identify asbestos particles in the sample. PLM test results show the percentage of asbestos within a particular material after analysis.
If the test results show the presence of asbestos, a certified contractor can remove the materials from the house.
Other types of tests available for testing asbestos are Transmission Electron Microscopy, used for testing asbestos in soil, and Phase Contract Microscopy, used for testing asbestos in the air. Read on asbestos testing for more ideas.