Asbestos can be a health risk to you in your Phoenix home

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used as a fire resistant material throughout residential housing until the 1980’s when it became overwhelming apparent that asbestos caused lung cancer and other respiratory ailments after exposure. It can pose a serious risk to your health and safety.

In homes, asbestos can be found in older insulation (specifically vermiculite type insulation), tape used in AC and furnace ductwork, floor tiles, construction glues and adhesives, ceiling tiles and popcorn ceilings, roofing tiles and shingles, window caulking and glazing, and older types of plaster.  In some homes, it can be everywhere.

And while asbestos can be still found in many homes throughout the Phoenix area, asbestos containing material, or ACM, that is not damaged and well-sealed is considered safe and need not be removed from the home. ACM in good condition is considered to be non-friable which means that the asbestos is encased or binded so that the harmful asbestos fibers will not easily be released into the air where you could inhale the fibers. Asbestos that is friable, a hazardous condition that needs to be remediated, is ACM that will easily release asbestos fibers when crushed, crumbled, or pulverized.

While visual inspection may raise a red flag that something is suspected to contain asbestos, the only way to determine if something contains asbestos is through laboratory testing.

The best thing to do with asbestos material in good condition is leave it alone. If the asbestos material is damaged, such as asbestos that crumbles easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, the damaged material is likely to release asbestos fibers and create a health hazard. Damaged asbestos can pose a serious health threat to you and your family in a home. Removal of asbestos requires specially trained contractors that follow specific protocols to mitigate the exposure of asbestos into the air and surrounding environment, which can be costly.