5 Warning Signs Of Asbestos And When To Act

A close-up of a popcorn ceiling.
Identifying the presence of asbestos in your surroundings is crucial for safeguarding your well-being. Now widely known for its dangers, asbestos exposure is associated with a number of serious health concerns. Asbestos fibres can lodge in your lungs, wreaking havoc on your health over decades. But the insidious nature of asbestos lies in its ability to remain hidden, silently waiting for the right conditions to release its harmful fibres. So, how do you spot asbestos, and what do you do if you find it? Let's look at the top five warning signs and when to act.

Warning Sign 1: Older Buildings

One of the initial indicators of potential asbestos exposure is the age of the building. Structures constructed before the 1980s are more likely to contain asbestos in various materials, such as insulation, flooring, and ceiling tiles. If you reside or work in an older building, it's essential to be aware of this historical context. Older schools and government buildings, in particular, were constructed before we were aware of the dangers of asbestos. It's not uncommon for these buildings to have asbestos within their construction materials.

Warning Sign 2: Crumbling Insulation

Asbestos was commonly used in insulation materials due to its heat-resistant properties. But over time, asbestos-containing insulation can degrade, becoming friable and releasing harmful fibres into the air. If you notice crumbling or deteriorating insulation in your home or workplace, it may be a warning sign of asbestos presence. This can be especially prevalent around pipes or boilers.

Warning Sign 3: Damaged Flooring

Vinyl and linoleum tiles and adhesives often contained asbestos before 1970. If your building was built around this time and the flooring is damaged, scratched, or shows signs of wear and tear, it could release asbestos fibres into the air. Pay close attention to any chipping or breaking in flooring materials and take prompt action if you suspect asbestos. It's important not to disturb the area further, so try not to walk on it, touch it, or try to repair it yourself.

Warning Sign 4: Cracking or Peeling Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings were all the rage during the mid-20th century. Asbestos in popcorn ceilings was typically mixed with other materials like plaster or vermiculite to create a textured look. While trendy at the time, they often contained asbestos. If you observe cracking or peeling in these textured ceilings, it is a cause for concern.

Warning Sign 5: Unusual Dust or Debris

Unexplained dust or debris in your living or working space may be an indication of deteriorating asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos crumbles with deterioration and may present as a dust-like substance. If there's an unusual amount of dust in your building, especially if it's older or undergoing renovations, it may be a sign of asbestos.

Worried About Asbestos? Here's What to Do Next

First of all, don't panic. Seeing cracks or dust doesn't automatically mean you're facing asbestos exposure. However, it's essential to take action and be sure. Refrain from disturbing suspicious materials to prevent the release of fibres and protect yourself and others from asbestos exposure. Consult a licensed asbestos inspector to assess the situation and conduct thorough testing. The AR Plus team are experts in asbestos detection, and we have all the right equipment to enable safe and proper asbestos removal. We offer end-to-end asbestos abatement, from detection to removal to restoration. If there's asbestos in your building, we can tackle it and have your space looking as good as new.
Enclosure work at a residential property
Asbestos warning signs at a residential property

FAQs

Q. How can I tell if there is asbestos in my home or building?

A. Visual inspection alone is not sufficient to detect asbestos. Asbestos fibres are microscopic, so it's essential to have a licensed asbestos professional assess your property.

Q. What are common sources of asbestos in homes or buildings?

A. Asbestos can be found in insulation, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, roofing materials, pipe insulation, and various other construction materials used in buildings constructed before the 1980s.

Q. Can I visually identify asbestos-containing materials?

A. It is challenging to visually identify asbestos-containing materials, as they often look similar to non-asbestos materials. Asbestos testing by professionals is necessary for accurate identification.

Q. How is asbestos testing conducted?

A. Asbestos testing involves collecting samples of suspected materials and sending them to a certified laboratory for analysis.

Q. How much does asbestos testing cost?

A. The cost of asbestos testing depends on factors such as the number of samples, the type of material being tested, and the location. We can provide you with a quote upon inspection.

Q. Can asbestos be safely removed?

A. Asbestos removal should only be conducted by licensed and trained professionals. We follow strict safety protocols to minimise the release of asbestos fibres. We ensure the safe removal of asbestos and complete restoration of your building.


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