I’m Pretty Sure I Have Asbestos in My Home, How Can I Tell?

Asbestos is a harmful mineral that was commonly used in various building materials until the late 20th century. Due to its heat resistance and durability, asbestos had widespread applications in construction, insulation, and even household products. However, it was later discovered to pose significant health risks, including lung cancer, stomach cancer, and mesothelioma, when its fibers are released into the air and inhaled or ingested.

If you suspect that your home or workplace contains asbestos, it is important to take immediate action for the safety of yourself and others. In this blog post, we will discuss some key indications that may suggest the presence of asbestos and how you can verify its existence.

Age of the Building:

One of the first signs that asbestos may be present is the age of the building. If your property was built before 1990, there is a higher chance of having asbestos-containing materials as asbestos was commonly used in construction during that time. Older homes, offices, factories, and schools may still have asbestos-containing materials in their structure.

Asbestos-Containing Materials:

Several materials commonly found in older buildings are known to contain asbestos include:

1) Insulation: Vermiculite, attic insulation, pipe insulation

2) Flooring: Vinyl tiles, adhesive, flooring backings

3) Ceiling and Wall Materials:
Popcorn ceilings, textured coatings, plaster, drywall joint compound

4) Roofing Materials: Roof shingles, flashing, cement sheets

5) HVAC Systems: Ductwork insulation, furnace insulation, boiler insulation

If your property has any of these materials, it is prudent to have them tested for asbestos.

Visual Inspection:

While asbestos fibers are microscopic, some visual signs can indicate its presence. Look for friable materials, which are easily crumbled and release fibers into the air when disturbed. Check for damaged or deteriorated materials, such as crumbling insulation, peeling popcorn ceiling, or disintegrating flooring tiles. These could be indications that asbestos is present and requires professional attention.

Professional Asbestos Testing:

The most accurate way to determine if asbestos is present in your property is by hiring our team at Ask Environmental in Red Deer and Calgary for professional asbestos testing service. Asbestos testing involves collecting samples of suspected materials and sending them to a laboratory for analysis. Our experts use specialized techniques like Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) or Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to identify the presence and concentration of asbestos fibers in the samples.

Professional asbestos testing companies like ours have the experience and equipment needed to safely collect samples without releasing fibers into the air. Once the samples are analyzed, we will provide you with a detailed report indicating whether asbestos is present, the type of asbestos, and the concentration levels.

It is important to note that as a homeowner or building occupant, you should not attempt to collect samples yourself, as disturbing potential asbestos-containing materials can release harmful fibers into the air. Always consult with a qualified professional to ensure proper testing procedures are followed.

DIY Asbestos Testing Kits:

There are also DIY asbestos testing kits available in the market. These kits typically come with instructions and materials for collecting samples and sending them to a laboratory for analysis. While these kits may seem convenient and cost-effective, they do not provide the same level of accuracy and reliability as professional testing. DIY kits do not have the same level of quality control measures and expertise as professional testing services. It is also important to follow the given instructions correctly to avoid any potential contamination or mishandling of asbestos-containing materials during the sampling process.

Ultimately, it is recommended to consult with a professional asbestos testing service like ours to ensure accurate results and proper handling of potential asbestos materials.

If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or workplace, it is crucial to take action now to protect yourself and others from its risks. Look for signs such as the age of the building, the presence of asbestos-containing materials, and visual indications of asbestos-related issues.

The most accurate way to determine if asbestos is present is through professional asbestos testing by Ask Environmental. We will collect and analyze samples and we’ll provide you with definitive results and a detailed report.

It is essential to prioritize safety and consult with our professionals who have the expertise and necessary equipment to handle asbestos safely.

Remember, the presence of asbestos should never be taken lightly, and proper precautions should be taken to ensure the well-being of everyone involved.

Contact us today in either of our Red Deer ore Calgary offices at 1.888.613.3025