When a home has suffered water damage, the greatest concern of most people is cleaning up and preventing mould growth. But did you know that you should be worried about exposure to asbestos-containing materials? If you live in an old home that was built before the ban of asbestos-containing products in 2003, you should protect yourself against the harmful fibres.
Where Can You Find Asbestos in the Home?
Asbestos was widely used in construction before its ban. You are likely to find it in various materials, such as floor and ceiling tiles, roof shingles, drywall, cement board, insulation, electrical wiring, and even heating and cooling equipment. However, the greatest challenge in dealing with asbestos is that you cannot see its fibres with the naked eye. What's more, the fibres can remain airborne for hours.
Therefore, it's paramount to take immediate action after water damage to prevent extensive exposure which could lead to mesothelioma and other respiratory complications. Below are the measures to take:
- Examine the Damage
It's paramount to note that asbestos isn't harmful if it's undisturbed. Only materials that have been disturbed can release the fibres and be potentially dangerous to you and your family. Therefore, examine the damaged materials. If they are among the ones mentioned above, you may have an asbestos problem in your hands.
Luckily, wet asbestos isn't dangerous. Moisture keeps the fibres stable and prevents them from spreading in the air. However, once the material starts to dry, the fibres can spread into the air and end up in your body. You can reduce exposure by keeping the asbestos-containing materials wet until you find help.
- Don't Disturb Materials
Disturbing asbestos in water-damaged materials can dislodge the fibres. Therefore, avoid any form of disturbance, including the following:
- Moving the damaged asbestos-containing materials
- Attempting to remove asbestos using sandpaper
- Vacuuming, dusting or sweeping the materials
- Further damaging asbestos materials
Don't try any cleanup or remediation work. If possible, make arrangements to evacuate the house or affected room. Once the asbestos starts to dry, you will be at risk of inhaling the fibres.
- Contact an Asbestos Removal Expert
Proper asbestos management is necessary to rid your home of the dangerous material. In this case, the removal expert should test for asbestos fibres in the air and various parts of your home to come up with a removal plan. Once this is done, they should remove asbestos from the house before you undertake any repair or restoration work.
Proper asbestos management in water-damaged materials is crucial to preventing exposure to the fibres. Take these steps and contact a removal expert immediately for professional remediation services.