Do you have a hidden killer lurking in your home?
If you do, then you need to get rid of it before it does its damage, but before you can do that, you have to discover where it is hiding.
Welcome to Asbestos Testing Source, where we promote the education and awareness regarding the importance of asbestos testing and the various testing options available to help you locate and rid yourself of asbestos in order to protect your family from its deadly presence. We’re here to let you know about:
- the potential dangers of asbestos in your home
- the different testing procedures that are available,
- the steps to take if you suspect that you have asbestos in your home,
- and to offer some tips and advice for making your home safer.
Before we look at the various testing procedures, let’s take a look at some of the potential dangers of asbestos exposure.
Potential Dangers of Asbestos in Your Home
Asbestos exposure can result in the folllowing diseases:
- Asbestosis. Asbestosis is is a result of scarring where asbestos fibers have damaged the lining of the lungs and makes them less elastic. Reduced elasticity makes it difficult to breathe.
- Pleural issues. There are four types including pleural plaques, pleural effusion, pleural fibrosis and folded lung.
- Mesothelioma. This is potentially fatal form of lung cancer.
What is of major concern is that those exposed to asbestos might not develop symptoms of these diseases until from 10 to 40 years later, when it is too late to treat the issue. Any potential to become exposed should be eliminated.
The only way to be certain that you have eliminated the potential of asbestos exposure is to have your home tested for asbestos. There are five tests, which can detect the presence of asbestos in various environments and materials in and around your home.
Measuring fiber concentrations of asbestos from air samples involves a process known as Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM). PCM testing uses a light microscope with a magnification power of 400x. This allows fibers as small as 0.25 microns to be viewed clearly. Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) is required to distinguish different types of fibers.
TEM uses magnifications of 20,000x using an electron microscope. This can detect mineral types within those fibers.
Bulk material testing makes use of Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM). It utilizes the unique properties of polarized light to distinguish between asbestos fibers and other fibers found in bulk building materials. Since PLM utilizes a light microscope at 100x to 400x magnification, there are often challenges in identification due to the interference of other building materials which adhere to asbestos fibers.
PLM test results are only a percentage of the sample. That percentage is quantified using visual estimation and point counting and/or a process known as gravimetric reduction. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), governs the Analysis protocolsand techniques.
Settled Dust and Non-Building Materials
Testing for settled dust and non-building materials has a good bit of controversy surrounding it among those in the environmental industry. The controversy revolves around three different positions: establishing a baseline levels, surveying the historical buildup, or diagnosing episodic releases.
The established method for testing settled dust and non-building materials is the analysis of field samples using TEM. More effective analysis methods are being studied.
Soil and Sediment
Asbestos testing for soil and sediment tends to focus on the use of PLM due to the fact that it is a more economic methodology. Soil testing is used to identify illegally dumped asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all soil and sediment samples to use PLM. The EPA enforces laws concerning the illegal dumping of asbestos building materials.
Water and Aqueous Samples
Recent developments of testing methods for water samples by the EPA indicate that there is still a great deal of growth and development in this area of asbestos analysis. Drinking water pipes require testing during nearby contruction work. Waste water can be tested for contamination. The established method for water sample testing utilizes TEM.
DIY Testing Kits vs. Professional Inspection
The descriptions of the procedures used in asbestos testing probably sound very expensive, which is why there is a rise in DIY asbestos testing kits. We’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of using a DIY testing kit, and then measure those against a professional inspection.
DIY Testing Kit Pros
- A DIY asbestos test can determine the possibility of asbestos before calling in a professional inspector.
- DIY kits are between $30 and $60, which is typically less than the hourly rate of a professional inspector.
- A DIY kit can be a great tool in rural areas where finding a professional inspector is next to impossible.
DIY Testing Kit Cons
- Collecting asbestos samples without correct protection can be a health risk.
- Professional inspectors tend to know specific places to look for asbestos, even in contemporary construction materials, where a do-it-yourselfer might miss.
- A DIY tester has a tendency to want to be a DIY asbestos remover as well, where a professional inspector is more likely to guide you toward having the materials properly disposed of.
Believe it or not, professional inspections typically have a quicker turnaround when it comes to getting test results over DIY kits.
What do you do if you suspect that you have asbestos in or around your home?
The quick answer to that question is pretty simple; have your home tested. Whether you make use of a DIY kit in order to get a preliminary assessment before calling in a professional inspector or call a professional inspector right off, it is essential to know for certain whether this deadly killer is lurking near your family.
Busting a Myth About Asbestos
Most people are under the assumption that contemporary building materials do not contain asbestos. The common belief is that any building built after the 70s and 80s cannot have asbestos materials. That is not true. Even contemporary building material can contain asbestos. Here is a list of those building materials:
- Cement sheets
If you’re planning major renovation or a remodeling project, always test for the presence of asbestos.
A Final Word
The worst part about asbestos is that it often goes completely undetected. It’s better to be safe than sorry, order an asbestos test for peace of mind.
The team at Asbestos Testing Source are happy to answer any questions. Submit your enquires through the contact us page.