When you hear the word asbestos, you may get very nervous, as this substance is typically associated with various lung diseases, including cancer. While the substance has been outlawed for construction use in most areas for many years now, it's still good to know a bit about this material, where it might still be found and how it should be handled. Note a few misconceptions that many people have when it comes to asbestos so you can ensure you have accurate information about this material.
Asbestos and older building materials
While asbestos is no longer allowed as a building material, it might still be found in older materials that have been reclaimed or salvaged. If you're planning on any type of home remodel or renovation and are thinking of using materials from a salvage yard or resale store, be sure to check the age of those materials, where they were salvaged from and the like. It can be good to have them checked for asbestos before you purchase them, rather than assuming that older materials have always or automatically been cleaned of this substance before being reclaimed or resold.
Asbestos exposure in the office
Breathing in asbestos fibres is what makes them dangerous, so if you discover that a building you work in has asbestos, this doesn't necessarily mean you're in danger. However, you also don't want to assume that you can ignore this issue, especially if anything might loosen those fibres or bring you into contact with them, including maintenance work, renovations to the building and so on.
In a commercial building, you have the right to know what area of the building contains asbestos, how the fibres are contained and what containment measures will be used during a renovation project, how often the area is inspected, and so on. Don't assume that you're in danger in the office, but it's also good to take some responsibility for ensuring your own safety in a commercial building that may contain asbestos and double-check inspection reports, containment measures and the like. Asbestos removal experts can ensure a building is safe to work in.
Asbestos in the ground
Many people mistakenly think that asbestos is only found in building materials, but this substance actually occurs naturally and is found in the ground. This is why it's often good to have the soil of any vacant lot tested if you're planning on developing that lot. Construction work may disturb asbestos fibres and cause them to become airborne, so you may need to replace or clean the soil before that work begins for your own safety.