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Is It Safe To Have Asbestos In My Home?

Asbestos floor tile.

Finding an asbestos-containing material in your property can lead to great concern. After having the material tested by a professional, many often worry about their safety after finding these types of materials and if they can even remain in your home. In this blog we will tackle the question of is it safe to have these materials and how to manage them.

Asbestos Material Categories 

It is not uncommon in pre 1980s properties to have an asbestos-containing material present. Common items that may have asbestos in a property include vinyl floor tile and adhesives, wall systems, pipe insulation, vermiculite, and myriad of other building materials. These materials can be divided into two categories: friable and non-friable. Friable materials can be crushed into a powder with hand pressure while dry, while non-friables cannot. Since friable materials can become a powder more easily, they are more likely to release their fibers.  Common examples of friable materials include; plaster, popcorn/textured ceilings, pipe and duct insulation, vermiculite, drywall/joint compound, and ceiling tiles. Common examples of non-friable materials are: floor tile and floor tiles adhesive, window or door caulking, and transite. 

Is It Safe For Asbestos Materials To Be In My Home?

According to the EPA asbestos containing materials that are deemed in good condition and are not distubed pose a minimal health risk. For example, if there are asbestos-containing floor tiles in a basement in the property that are in good condition and there no planned renovations in the area, then the material can stay in place without concerns about safety. These materials can possibly be encapsulated to prevent weathering or future damage if they are not going to be replaced in the near future. However, if the material is not in good condition, then measures will need to be taken. Damaged friable materials pose a higher risk due to their ability to shed fibers more easily than. While friable materials may be higher risk, deteriorated non-friables can still pose a health risk. Materials in poor condition in a property may have to be handled by an asbestos abatement professional. So depending on the situation it may or may not be safe to keep asbestos in the home depending on the material.

Abatement and Encapsulation

If there are damaged asbestos-containing materials, they will need to be addressed. Luckily, there are options present on how to manage them. In some cases, such as with pipe insulation, the material may be able to be rewrapped and encapsulated. However with most other materials, the only other option is to abate the material. Abatement of asbestos-containing materials should involve hiring an asbestos professional for the work. The process typically included setting up a containment under negative pressure. Afterwards, we recommend hiring a licensed asbestos air sampler, such as Indoor Science, to conduct clearance air sampling after the work has been completed. 

In conclusion, materials that are asbestos-containing can remain in a property if the material is in good condition and will not be disturbed in the future. If the materials are in poor condition, we recommend hiring a professional asbestos contractor to have the materials abated or in some cases stabilized and encapsulated. 

Jordan Thomas

Jordan Thomas

Jordan Thomas is a Project Manager that performs indoor air quality assessments with a specialty in asbestos and lead. Mr. Thomas holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Earth Science from DePauw University. Jordan is an ACAC Council-Certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE), Licensed Lead and Asbestos Inspector, Licensed Air Sampling Professional, and HAZWOPER certified. He also holds an asbestos microscopist certificate from the McCrone Research Institute. Prior to working at Indoor Science, Jordan worked as an Industrial Hygienist at Environmental Analysis, Inc and as an Asbestos/Lead Analyst at Metro Technology Laboratory. In his words… “While not in the field, I’m a Nu-Jazz and movie enthusiast.”

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